The melanocortin signaling system is integral in regulating energy homeostasis. The melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) activates several signaling pathways in performance of this function. The effect of MC4R on insulin-stimulated mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a cellular energy sensor, signaling was investigated. The GT1-1 cell line which expresses MC4R expression was utilized. mTOR signaling was measured by Western blotting analysis using Phospho-mTOR (Ser2448) antibody. NDP-MSH dose-dependently enhanced insulin-stimulated mTOR phosphorylation. The MC4R antagonist SHU9119 blocked this effect, demonstrating specificity. The protein kinase A - cyclic AMP pathway and the MAP kinase pathway were not involved in NDP-MSH actions on insulin-stimulated mTOR phosphorylation. In contrast, the AMP-activated protein kinase agonist, AICAR, attenuated this effect. MC4R activation potentiates insulin-stimulated mTOR signaling via the AMPK pathway.
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