Cellular senescence, cancer and aging are highly interconnected. Among many important molecular machines that lie at the intersection of this triad, the mechanistic (formerly mammalian) target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a central regulator of cell metabolism, proliferation, and survival. The mTOR signaling cascade is essential to maintain cellular homeostasis in normal biological processes or in response to stress, and its dysregulation is implicated in the progression of many disorders, including age-associated diseases. Accordingly, the pharmacological implications of mTOR inhibition using rapamycin or others rapalogs span the treatment of various human diseases from immune disorders to cancer. Importantly, rapamycin is one of the only known pan-species drugs that can extend lifespan. The molecular and cellular mechanisms explaining the phenotypic consequences of mTOR are vast and heavily studied. In this review, we will focus on the potential role of mTOR in the context of cellular senescence, a tumor suppressor mechanism and a pillar of aging. We will explore the link between senescence, autophagy and mTOR and discuss the opportunities to exploit senescence-associated mTOR functions to manipulate senescence phenotypes in age-associated diseases and cancer treatment.
Keywords: Aging; Apoptosis; Autophagy; Lifespan; Metabolism; Senescence; Senolytics; mTOR.
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