Distinct amino acid-sensing mTOR pathways regulate skeletal myogenesis

Mee Sup Yoon, Jie Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Signaling through the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in response to amino acid availability controls many cellular and developmental processes. mTOR is a master regulator of myogenic differentiation, but the pathways mediating amino acid signals in this process are not known. Here we examine the Rag GTPases and the class III phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) Vps34, two mediators of amino acid signals upstream of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) in cell growth regulation, for their potential involvement in myogenesis. We find that, although both Rag and Vps34 mediate amino acid activation of mTORC1 in C2C12 myoblasts, they have opposing functions in myogenic differentiation. Knockdown of RagA/B enhances, whereas overexpression of active RagB/C mutants impairs, differentiation, and this inhibitory function of Rag is mediated by mTORC1 suppression of the IRS1-PI3K-Akt pathway. On the other hand, Vps34 is required for myogenic differentiation. Amino acids activate a Vps34-phospholipase D1 (PLD1) pathway that controls the production of insulin-like growth factor II, an autocrine inducer of differentiation, through the Igf2 muscle enhancer. The product of PLD, phosphatidic acid, activates the enhancer in a rapamycin-sensitive but mTOR kinase-independent manner. Our results uncover amino acid-sensing mechanisms controlling the homeostasis of myogenesis and underline the versatility and context dependence of mTOR signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3754-3763
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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