Regulation and function of mTOR signalling in T cell fate decisions

Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Apr 20;12(5):325-38. doi: 10.1038/nri3198.


The evolutionarily conserved kinase mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) couples cell growth and metabolism to environmental inputs in eukaryotes. T cells depend on mTOR signalling to integrate immune signals and metabolic cues for their proper maintenance and activation. Under steady-state conditions, mTOR is actively controlled by multiple inhibitory mechanisms, and this enforces normal T cell homeostasis. Antigen recognition by naive CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells triggers mTOR activation, which in turn programmes the differentiation of these cells into functionally distinct lineages. This Review focuses on the signalling mechanisms of mTOR in T cell homeostatic and functional fates, and discusses the therapeutic implications of targeting mTOR in T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases