mTORC2 Steals the Spotlight

Laura A. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

1 Scopus citations


Therapeutic Inhibition of mTORC2 Rescues the Behavioral and Neurophysiological Abnormalities Associated With PTEN-Deficiency Chen C, Sgritta M, Mays J, et al. Nat Med. 2019;25(11):1684-1690. doi:10.1038/s41591-019-0608-y. Dysregulation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, which is mediated by 2 structurally and functionally distinct complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, has been implicated in several neurological disorders. Individuals carrying loss-of-function mutations in the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) gene, a negative regulator of mTOR signaling, are prone to developing macrocephaly, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), seizures, and intellectual disability. It is generally believed that the neurological symptoms associated with loss of PTEN and other mTORopathies (eg, mutations in the tuberous sclerosis genes TSC1 or TSC2) are due to hyperactivation of mTORC1-mediated protein synthesis. Using molecular genetics, we unexpectedly found that genetic deletion of mTORC2 (but not mTORC1) activity prolonged life span, suppressed seizures, rescued ASD-like behaviors and long-term memory, and normalized metabolic changes in the brain of mice lacking Pten. In a more therapeutically oriented approach, we found that administration of an antisense oligonucleotide targeting mTORC2’s defining component Rictor specifically inhibits mTORC2 activity and reverses the behavioral and neurophysiological abnormalities in adolescent Pten-deficient mice. Collectively, our findings indicate that mTORC2 is the major driver underlying the neuropathophysiology associated with Pten-deficiency, and its therapeutic reduction could represent a promising and broadly effective translational therapy for neurological disorders where mTOR signaling is dysregulated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-117
Number of pages2
JournalEpilepsy Currents
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


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