Regulation of tissue growth through nutrient sensing

Annu Rev Genet. 2009;43:389-410. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genet-102108-134815.


Nutrition is a key regulator of tissue growth. In animals, nutritional status is monitored and signaled at both the cellular and systemic levels. The main mediator of cellular nutrient sensing is the protein kinase TOR (target of rapamycin). TOR receives information from levels of cellular amino acids and energy, and it regulates the activity of processes involved in cell growth, such as protein synthesis and autophagy. Insulin-like signaling is the main mechanism of systemic nutrient sensing and mediates its growth-regulatory functions largely through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT protein kinase pathway. Other nutrition-regulated hormonal mechanisms contribute to growth control by modulating the activity of insulin-like signaling. The pathways mediating signals from systemic and cellular levels converge, allowing cells to combine information from both sources. Here we give an overview of the mechanisms that adjust animal tissue growth in response to nutrition and highlight some general features of the signaling pathways involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Size*
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Food*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism


  • Insulin
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases