Amino Acid Sensing by mTORC1: Intracellular Transporters Mark the Spot

Cell Metab. 2016 Apr 12;23(4):580-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.03.013.


Cell metabolism and growth are matched to nutrient availability via the amino-acid-regulated mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). Transporters have emerged as important amino acid sensors controlling mTOR recruitment and activation at the surface of multiple intracellular compartments. Classically, this has involved late endosomes and lysosomes, but now, in a recent twist, also the Golgi apparatus. Here we propose a model in which specific amino acids in assorted compartments activate different mTORC1 complexes, which may have distinct drug sensitivities and functions. We will discuss the implications of this for mTORC1 function in health and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Transport Systems / metabolism*
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Amino Acid Transport Systems
  • Amino Acids
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1