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TOR complex 2 is a master regulator of plasma membrane homeostasis

Published: 23 September 2022

Abstract: As first demonstrated in budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), all eukaryotic cells contain two, distinct multi-component protein kinase complexes that each harbor the TOR (Target Of Rapamycin) polypeptide as the catalytic subunit. These ensembles, dubbed TORC1 and TORC2, function as universal, centrally important sensors, integrators, and controllers of eukaryotic cell growth and homeostasis. TORC1, activated on the cytosolic surface of the lysosome (or, in yeast, on the cytosolic surface of the vacuole), has emerged as a primary nutrient sensor that promotes cellular biosynthesis and suppresses autophagy. TORC2, located primarily at the plasma membrane, plays a major role in maintaining the proper levels and bilayer distribution of all plasma membrane components (sphingolipids, glycerophospholipids, sterols, and integral membrane proteins). This article surveys what we have learned about signaling via the TORC2 complex, largely through studies conducted in S. cerevisiae. In this yeast, conditions that challenge plasma membrane integrity can, depending on the nature of the stress, stimulate or inhibit TORC2, resulting in, respectively, up-regulation or down-regulation of the phosphorylation and thus the activity of its essential downstream effector the AGC family protein kinase Ypk1. Through the ensuing effect on the efficiency with which Ypk1 phosphorylates multiple substrates that control diverse processes, membrane homeostasis is maintained. Thus, the major focus here is on TORC2, Ypk1, and the multifarious targets of Ypk1 and how the functions of these substrates are regulated by their Ypk1-mediated phosphorylation, with emphasis on recent advances in our understanding of these processes.
Keywords: contact sites / lipids / membrane proteins / phosphorylation / plasma membrane / protein kinases

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