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Mammalian target of rapamycin signaling in the podocyte

Inoki, Kena,b,c; Huber, Tobias B.d,e

Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension: May 2012 - Volume 21 - Issue 3 - p 251–257
doi: 10.1097/MNH.0b013e3283520f38

Purpose of review Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an evolutionarily conserved protein kinase. mTOR forms two distinct functional multiprotein kinase complexes that mutually phosphorylate different substrates and regulate a wide array of essential cellular processes including translation, transcription and autophagy. mTOR is active in several types of cancer and plays a role in a variety of other serious human diseases, including diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders and polycystic kidney disease. However, until recently, only very little was known about the function of mTOR in glomerular homeostasis.

Recent findings Emerging studies highlight the important roles of the mTOR signaling pathway in both maintaining and deregulating glomerular and podocyte function.

Summary Here we review the current understanding of mTOR signaling in podocyte biology and discuss its implications for the development of glomerular diseases.

aLife Sciences Institute

bDepartment of Molecular and Integrative Physiology

cDivision of Nephropathy, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

dDepartment of Nephrology, University Hospital Freiburg, Freiburg

eCentre for Biological Signalling Studies (BIOSS), Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany

Correspondence to Tobias B. Huber, Department of Nephrology, Breisacherstrasse 66, 79106 Freiburg, University Hospital Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany. Tel: +49 761 270 35590; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.