The SZT2 Interactome Unravels New Functions of the KICSTOR Complex

Cells. 2021 Oct 9;10(10):2711. doi: 10.3390/cells10102711.


Seizure threshold 2 (SZT2) is a component of the KICSTOR complex which, under catabolic conditions, functions as a negative regulator in the amino acid-sensing branch of mTORC1. Mutations in this gene cause a severe neurodevelopmental and epileptic encephalopathy whose main symptoms include epilepsy, intellectual disability, and macrocephaly. As SZT2 remains one of the least characterized regulators of mTORC1, in this work we performed a systematic interactome analysis under catabolic and anabolic conditions. Besides numerous mTORC1 and AMPK signaling components, we identified clusters of proteins related to autophagy, ciliogenesis regulation, neurogenesis, and neurodegenerative processes. Moreover, analysis of SZT2 ablated cells revealed increased mTORC1 signaling activation that could be reversed by Rapamycin or Torin treatments. Strikingly, SZT2 KO cells also exhibited higher levels of autophagic components, independent of the physiological conditions tested. These results are consistent with our interactome data, in which we detected an enriched pool of selective autophagy receptors/regulators. Moreover, preliminary analyses indicated that SZT2 alters ciliogenesis. Overall, the data presented form the basis to comprehensively investigate the physiological functions of SZT2 that could explain major molecular events in the pathophysiology of developmental and epileptic encephalopathy in patients with SZT2 mutations.

Keywords: KICSTOR; SZT2; autophagy; ciliogenesis; epilepsy; mTORC1; neurodegeneration; neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / deficiency
  • Animals
  • Blood Proteins / pharmacology
  • Cilia / drug effects
  • Cilia / metabolism
  • Dogs
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / metabolism
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Organogenesis / drug effects
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Protein Interaction Maps* / drug effects
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology


  • Amino Acids
  • Blood Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SZT2 protein, human
  • torin
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Sirolimus