Impairment of reciprocal social interaction is a core symptom of autism spectrum disorder. Genetic disorders frequently accompany autism spectrum disorder, such as tuberous sclerosis complex caused by haploinsufficiency of the TSC1 and TSC2 genes. Accumulating evidence implicates a relationship between autism spectrum disorder and signal transduction that involves tuberous sclerosis complex 1, tuberous sclerosis complex 2 and mammalian target of rapamycin. Here we show behavioural abnormalities relevant to autism spectrum disorder and their recovery by the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor rapamycin in mouse models of tuberous sclerosis complex. In Tsc2(+/-) mice, we find enhanced transcription of multiple genes involved in mammalian target of rapamycin signalling, which is dependent on activated mammalian target of rapamycin signalling with a minimal influence of Akt. The findings indicate a crucial role of mammalian target of rapamycin signalling in deficient social behaviour in mouse models of tuberous sclerosis complex, supporting the notion that mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors may be useful for the pharmacological treatment of autism spectrum disorder associated with tuberous sclerosis complex and other conditions that result from dysregulated mammalian target of rapamycin signalling.