Activation of the cardiac mTOR/p70(S6K) pathway by leucine requires PDK1 and correlates with PRAS40 phosphorylation

Cossette Sanchez Canedo, Benedicte Demeulder, Audrey Ginion, Jose R. Bayascas, Jean-Luc Balligand, Dario R. Alessi, Jean-Louis Vanoverschelde, Christophe Beauloye, Louis Hue, Luc Bertrand

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    52 Citations (Scopus)


    Like insulin, leucine stimulates the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (p70(S6K)) axis in various organs. Insulin proceeds via the canonical association of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase-1 (PDK1), and protein kinase B (PKB/Akt). The signaling involved in leucine effect, although known to implicate a PI3K mechanism independent of PKB/Akt, is more poorly understood. In this study, we investigated whether PDK1 could also participate in the events leading to mTOR/p70(S6K) activation in response to leucine in the heart. In wild-type hearts, both leucine and insulin increased p70(S6K) activity whereas, in contrast to insulin, leucine was unable to activate PKB/Akt. The changes in p70(S6K) activity induced by insulin and leucine correlated with changes in phosphorylation of Thr(389), the mTOR phosphorylation site on p70(S6K), and of Ser(2448) on mTOR, both related to mTOR activity. Leucine also triggered phosphorylation of the proline-rich Akt/PKB substrate of 40 kDa (PRAS40), a new pivotal mTOR regulator. In PDK1 knockout hearts, leucine, similarly to insulin, failed to induce the phosphorylation of mTOR and p70(S6K), leading to the absence of p70(S6K) activation. The loss of leucine effect in absence of PDK1 correlated with the lack of PRAS40 phosphorylation. Moreover, the introduction in PDK1 of the L155E mutation, which is known to preserve the insulin-induced and PKB/Akt-dependent phosphorylation of mTOR/p70(S6K), suppressed all leucine effects, including phosphorylation of mTOR, PRAS40, and p70(S6K). We conclude that the leucine-induced stimulation of the cardiac PRAS40/mTOR/p70(S6K) pathway requires PDK1 in a way that differs from that of insulin.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)E761-E769
    Number of pages9
    JournalAJP - Endocrinology and Metabolism (Endocrinology and Metabolism
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


    • Phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase-1
    • Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)
    • Proline-rich Akt/PKB substrate of 40 kDa
    • p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase
    • Amino acid
    • Heart


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