mTORC1 Signaling: A Double-Edged Sword in Diabetic β Cells

Cell Metab. 2018 Feb 6;27(2):314-331. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.11.004. Epub 2017 Dec 21.


The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is a central regulator of metabolic and nutrient cues that integrates environmental inputs into downstream signaling pathways to control cellular metabolism, growth, and survival. While numerous in vitro and in vivo studies reported the positive functions of mTORC1 in the regulation of β cell survival and proliferation under physiological conditions, more recent work demonstrates the opposite in the long term; this is exemplified by the constitutive inappropriate hyper-activation of mTORC1 in diabetic islets or β cells under conditions of increased β cell stress and metabolic demands. These recent findings uncover mTORC1's importance as an emerging significant player in the development and progression of β cell failure in type 2 diabetes and suggest that mTORC1 may act as a "double edge sword" in the regulation of β cell mass and function in response to metabolic stress such as nutrient overload and insulin resistance.

Keywords: apoptosis; cell; diabetes; insulin; mTOR; mTORC1; mTORC2; pancreas; β.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Feedback, Physiological
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1