Dysregulation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase pathway is centrally involved in a wide variety of cancers and human genetic diseases. In mammalian cells, mTOR is part of two different kinase complexes: mTORC1 composed of mTOR, raptor and mLST8, and mTORC2 containing mTOR, rictor, sin1 and mLST8. Whereas, mTORC1 is known to be a pivotal regulator of cell size and cell cycle control, the question whether the recently discovered mTORC2 complex is involved in these processes remains elusive. We report here that the mTORC1-mediated consequences on cell cycle and cell size are separable and do not involve effects on mTORC2 activity. However, we show that mTORC2 itself is a potent regulator of mammalian cell size and cell cycle via a mechanism involving the Akt/TSC2/Rheb cascade. Our data are of relevance for the understanding of the molecular development of the many human diseases caused by deregulation of upstream and downstream effectors of mTOR.
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