HORMONES, AUTACOIDS, NEUROTRANSMITTERS AND GROWTH FACTORS: Edited by Mark Cooper and Merlin ThomasThe role of mechanistic target of rapamycin in maintenance of glomerular epithelial cellsYao, Yaoa; Inoki, Kena,b,cAuthor Information aLife Sciences Institute bDepartment of Molecular and Integrative Physiology cDepartment of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA Correspondence to Ken Inoki, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. E-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension: January 2016 - Volume 25 - Issue 1 - p 28-34 doi: 10.1097/MNH.0000000000000181 Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review Recent studies have emerged to reveal the pivotal roles of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling not only in the maintenance of the physiological functions of renal cells but also in the pathogenesis of renal cell dysfunctions and kidney diseases. We introduce the current understanding of mTOR signaling, and its crucial roles in glomerular epithelial cell biology and the pathophysiology related to kidney diseases. Recent findings mTOR, a Ser/Thr kinase, forms two distinct functional complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. Recent studies revealed that physiologic levels of mTORC1 and mTORC2 activity play key roles in maintaining podocyte and glomerular functions. However, aberrant activation of mTORC1 or loss of mTORC2 activity in podocytes may underlie the pathogenesis of glomerular disorders, including diabetic kidney disease. Summary An effective treatment for mTORC1-associated podocyte and glomerular dysfunction may require the attenuation of mTORC1 activity in the setting of both an intact mTORC2 pathway and normal basal mTORC1 activity in order to preserve physiologic podocyte functions. Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.