Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a major intersection that connects signals from the extracellular milieu to corresponding changes in intracellular processes. When abnormally regulated, the mTOR signaling pathway is implicated in a wide spectrum of cancers, neurological diseases, and proliferative disorders. Therefore, pharmacological agents that restore the regulatory balance of the mTOR pathway could be beneficial for a great number of diseases. This review summarizes current understanding of mTOR signaling and some unanswered questions in the field. We describe the composition of the mTOR complexes, upstream signals that activate mTOR, and physiological processes that mTOR regulates. We also discuss the role of mTOR and its downstream effectors in cancer, obesity and diabetes, and autism.
Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.