An emerging role of mTOR in lipid biosynthesis

Curr Biol. 2009 Dec 1;19(22):R1046-52. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.09.058.


Lipid biosynthesis is essential for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. The lipids produced by cells (glycerolipids, fatty acids, phospholipids, cholesterol, and sphingolipids) are used as an energy source/reserve, as building blocks for membrane biosynthesis, as precursor molecules for the synthesis of various cellular products, and as signaling molecules. Defects in lipid synthesis or processing contribute to the development of many diseases, including obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cancer. Studies published over the last few years have shown that the target of rapamycin (TOR), a conserved serine/threonine kinase with an important role in regulating cell growth, controls lipid biosynthesis through various mechanisms. Here, we review these findings and briefly discuss their potential relevance for human health and disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Lipids / biosynthesis*
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology
  • PPAR gamma / physiology
  • Phosphatidate Phosphatase
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology*
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / physiology
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lipids
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PPAR gamma
  • SREBF1 protein, human
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • MTOR protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • LPIN1 protein, human
  • Phosphatidate Phosphatase