July 26, 2021

New Publication from the Fingar Lab!

fingar lab CDB

TBK1 responds to microbes to initiate cellular responses critical for host innate immune defense. We found previously that TBK1 phosphorylates mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) on S2159 to increase mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling in response to the growth factor EGF and the viral dsRNA mimetic poly(I:C). mTORC1 and the less well studied mTORC2 respond to diverse cues to control cellular metabolism, proliferation, and survival. While TBK1 has been linked to Akt phosphorylation, a direct relationship between TBK1 and mTORC2, an Akt kinase, has not been described. By studying MEFs lacking TBK1, as well as MEFs, macrophages, and mice bearing an Mtor S2159A knock-in allele (MtorA/A) using in vitro kinase assays and cell-based approaches, we demonstrate here that TBK1 activates mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) directly to increase Akt phosphorylation. We find that TBK1 and mTOR S2159 phosphorylation promote mTOR-dependent phosphorylation of Akt in response to several growth factors and poly(I:C). Mechanistically, TBK1 co-immunoprecipitates with mTORC2 and phosphorylates mTOR S2159 within mTORC2 in cells. Kinase assays demonstrate that TBK1 and mTOR S2159 phosphorylation increase mTORC2 intrinsic catalytic activity. Growth factors failed to activate TBK1 or increase mTOR S2159 phosphorylation in MEFs. Thus, basal TBK1 activity cooperates with growth factors in parallel to increase mTORC2 (and mTORC1) signaling. Collectively, these results reveal crosstalk between TBK1 and mTOR, key regulatory nodes within two major signaling networks. As TBK1 and mTOR contribute to tumorigenesis and metabolic disorders, these kinases may work together in a direct manner in a variety of physiological and pathological settings.