The onset of puberty is gated by body energy reserves and nutritional cues. The adipose hormone leptin is an essential signal for the metabolic control of puberty, through mechanisms that are yet to be fully characterized. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), an energetic cell sensor, operates at specific hypothalamic nuclei as a transducer for leptin effects on feeding and energy homeostasis. This review summarizes recent experimental evidence supporting a role for central mTOR signaling in puberty onset. These findings are discussed in the context of topical developments in the field, such as recognition of the roles of the cAMP responsive element-binding protein regulated transcription coactivator-1 (Crtc1) and kisspeptins in the metabolic control of reproduction, thus highlighting novel mechanisms responsible for coupling puberty and energy homeostasis.
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