The multifaceted role of mTORC1 in the control of lipid metabolism

EMBO Rep. 2013 Mar 1;14(3):242-51. doi: 10.1038/embor.2013.5. Epub 2012 Feb 12.


The mechanistic target of rapamycin is a protein kinase that, as part of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), senses both local nutrients and, through insulin signalling, systemic nutrients to control a myriad of cellular processes. Although roles for mTORC1 in promoting protein synthesis and inhibiting autophagy in response to nutrients have been well established, it is emerging as a central regulator of lipid homeostasis. Here, we discuss the growing genetic and pharmacological evidence demonstrating the functional importance of its signalling in controlling mammalian lipid metabolism, including lipid synthesis, oxidation, transport, storage and lipolysis, as well as adipocyte differentiation and function. Defining the role of mTORC1 signalling in these metabolic processes is crucial to understanding the pathophysiology of obesity and its relationship to complex diseases, including diabetes and cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipogenesis
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Multiprotein Complexes / genetics
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1