Phosphorylated Rho-GDP directly activates mTORC2 kinase towards AKT through dimerization with Ras-GTP to regulate cell migration

Nat Cell Biol. 2019 Jul;21(7):867-878. doi: 10.1038/s41556-019-0348-8. Epub 2019 Jul 1.


mTORC2 plays critical roles in metabolism, cell survival and actin cytoskeletal dynamics through the phosphorylation of AKT. Despite its importance to biology and medicine, it is unclear how mTORC2-mediated AKT phosphorylation is controlled. Here, we identify an unforeseen principle by which a GDP-bound form of the conserved small G protein Rho GTPase directly activates mTORC2 in AKT phosphorylation in social amoebae (Dictyostelium discoideum) cells. Using biochemical reconstitution with purified proteins, we demonstrate that Rho-GDP promotes AKT phosphorylation by assembling a supercomplex with Ras-GTP and mTORC2. This supercomplex formation is controlled by the chemoattractant-induced phosphorylation of Rho-GDP at S192 by GSK-3. Furthermore, Rho-GDP rescues defects in both mTORC2-mediated AKT phosphorylation and directed cell migration in Rho-null cells in a manner dependent on phosphorylation of S192. Thus, in contrast to the prevailing view that the GDP-bound forms of G proteins are inactive, our study reveals that mTORC2-AKT signalling is activated by Rho-GDP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Dimerization*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / metabolism
  • Guanosine Diphosphate / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2 / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*


  • Guanosine Diphosphate
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3
  • GTP-Binding Proteins