Frontier of epilepsy research - mTOR signaling pathway

Exp Mol Med. 2011 May 31;43(5):231-74. doi: 10.3858/emm.2011.43.5.032.


Studies of epilepsy have mainly focused on the membrane proteins that control neuronal excitability. Recently, attention has been shifting to intracellular proteins and their interactions, signaling cascades and feedback regulation as they relate to epilepsy. The mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signal transduction pathway, especially, has been suggested to play an important role in this regard. These pathways are involved in major physiological processes as well as in numerous pathological conditions. Here, involvement of the mTOR pathway in epilepsy will be reviewed by presenting; an overview of the pathway, a brief description of key signaling molecules, a summary of independent reports and possible implications of abnormalities of those molecules in epilepsy, a discussion of the lack of experimental data, and questions raised for the understanding its epileptogenic mechanism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Death
  • Diet, Ketogenic
  • Epilepsy / diet therapy
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy / metabolism*
  • Epilepsy / virology
  • Humans
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Temporal Lobe / metabolism


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases