Since the discovery of the phosphorylation of the 40S ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6) about four decades ago, much effort has been made to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of this post-translational modification. In the field of neuroscience, rpS6 phosphorylation is commonly used as a readout of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 signaling activation or as a marker for neuronal activity. Nevertheless, its biological role in neurons still remains puzzling. Here we review the pharmacological and physiological stimuli regulating this modification in the nervous system as well as the pathways that transduce these signals into rpS6 phosphorylation. Altered rpS6 phosphorylation observed in various genetic and pathophysiological mouse models is also discussed. Finally, we examine the current state of knowledge on the physiological role of this post-translational modification and highlight the questions that remain to be addressed.
Keywords: PP-1; S6K; brain; mRNA translation; mTOR; ribosome; rpS6 phosphorylation; signaling cascades.