Individuals with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) develop central nervous system abnormalities that may reflect astrocyte dysfunction. In an effort to model astrocyte dysfunction in TSC, we generated mice lacking Tsc1 (hamartin) expression in astrocytes and demonstrated that Tsc1-null astrocytes exhibit abnormalities in contact inhibition growth arrest. In this study, we demonstrate that hamartin-deficient astrocytes are also defective in cell size regulation. We show that the increase in Tsc1-null astrocyte size is associated with increased activation of the S6-kinase pathway. In keeping with recent reports that the hamartin/tuberin complex may regulate Rheb and downstream S6K activation, we demonstrate that expression of either Rheb or S6K in primary astrocytes results in increased S6 pathway activation, and that inhibition of Rheb activity in Tsc1-deficient astrocytes using either pharmacologic or genetic strategies markedly reduces S6 activation. Collectively, these observations suggest that TSC inactivation in astrocytes results in defective cell size regulation associated with dysregulated Rheb/mTOR/S6K pathway activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-188
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004


  • GTPase
  • Glia
  • Hamartin
  • mTOR


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