NYMC Faculty Publications

Disentangling the Signaling Pathways of Mtor Complexes, Mtorc1 and Mtorc2, as a Therapeutic Target in Glioblastoma

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Faculty, Resident/Fellow

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Advances in Biological Regulation

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Aberrant signaling of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR aka mammalian target of rapamycin) is shown to be linked to tumorigenesis of numerous malignancies including glioblastoma (GB). mTOR is a serine threonine kinase that functions by forming two multiprotein complexes. These complexes are named mTORC1 and mTORC2 and activate downstream substrates that execute cellular and metabolic functions. This signaling cascade of PI3K/AKT/mTOR is often upregulated due to frequent loss of the tumor suppressor PTEN, a phosphatase that functions antagonistically to PI3K. mTOR regulates cell growth, motility, and metabolism by forming two multiprotein complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, which are composed of special binding partners. These complexes are sensitive to distinct stimuli. mTORC1 is sensitive to nutrients and mTORC2 is regulated via PI3K and growth factor signaling. Since rapamycin and its analogue are less effective in treatment of GB, we used novel ATP-competitive dual inhibitors of mTORC1 and mTORC2, namely, Torin1, Torin2, and XL388. Torin2 caused a concentration dependent pharmacodynamic effects on inhibition of phosphorylation of the mTORC1 substrates S6K and 4E-BP1 as well as the mTORC2 substrate AKT resulting in suppression of tumor cell proliferation and migration. Torin1 showed similar effects only at higher doses. Another small molecule compound, XL388 suppressed cell proliferation at a higher dose but failed to inhibit cell migration. Torin1 suppressed phosphorylation of PRAS40, however, Torin2 completely abolished it. XL388 treatment inhibited the phosphorylation of PRAS40 at higher doses only. These findings underscore the use of novel compounds in treatment of cancer. In addition, formulation of third generation mTOR inhibitor "Rapalink-1" may provide new aspects to target mTOR pathways. Numerous inhibitors are currently being used in clinical trials that are aimed to target activated mTOR pathways.