mTORC1 and mTORC2 as regulators of cell metabolism in immunity

FEBS Lett. 2017 Oct;591(19):3089-3103. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.12711. Epub 2017 Jun 23.


The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is an evolutionarily conserved signaling pathway that senses intra- and extracellular nutrients, growth factors, and pathogen-associated molecular patterns to regulate the function of innate and adaptive immune cell populations. In this review, we focus on the role of the mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTORC2 in the regulation of the cellular energy metabolism of these immune cells to regulate and support immune responses. In this regard, mTORC1 and mTORC2 generally promote an anabolic response by stimulating protein synthesis, glycolysis, mitochondrial functions, and lipid synthesis to influence proliferation and survival, effector and memory responses, innate training and tolerance as well as hematopoietic stem cell maintenance and differentiation. Deactivation of mTOR restores cell homeostasis after immune activation and optimizes antigen presentation and memory T-cell generation. These findings show that the mTOR pathway integrates spatiotemporal information of the environmental and cellular energy status by regulating cellular metabolic responses to guide immune cell activation. Elucidation of the metabolic control mechanisms of immune responses will help to generate a systemic understanding of the immune system.

Keywords: T-cell; dendritic cell; glycolysis; immune cell metabolism; lipid metabolism; mTORC1; mTORC2; macrophage; mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunity*
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases