Research Papers:

VPS34 regulates TSC1/TSC2 heterodimer to mediate RheB and mTORC1/S6K1 activation and cellular transformation

Nishant Mohan, Yi Shen, Milos Dokmanovic, Yukinori Endo, Dianne S. Hirsch and Wen Jin Wu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:52239-52254. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10469

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Nishant Mohan1, Yi Shen1, Milos Dokmanovic1, Yukinori Endo1, Dianne S. Hirsch1, Wen Jin Wu1

1Division of Biotechnology Review and Research I, Office of Biotechnology Products, Office of Pharmaceutical Quality, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, 20993, Maryland, USA

Correspondence to:

Wen Jin Wu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: VPS34, TSC1/TSC2, RheB, mTORC1/S6K1, cellular transformation

Received: January 22, 2016    Accepted: June 07, 2016    Published: July 07, 2016


VPS34 is reported to activate S6K1 and is implicated in regulating cell growth, the mechanisms of which remain elusive. Here, we describe novel mechanisms by which VPS34 upregulates mTOR/S6K1 activity via downregulating TSC2 protein and activating RheB activity. Specifically, upregulation of VPS34 lipid kinase increases local production of ptdins(3)p in the plasma membrane, which recruits PIKFYVE, a FYVE domain containing protein, to ptdins(3)p enriched regions of the plasma membrane, where VPS34 forms a protein complex with PIKFYVE and TSC1. This in turn disengages TSC2 from the TSC1/TSC2 heterodimer, leading to TSC2 ubiquitination and degradation. Downregulation of TSC2 promotes the activation of RheB and mTOR/S6K1. When VPS34 lipid kinase activity is increased by introduction of an H868R mutation, ptdins(3)p production at the plasma membrane is dramatically increased, which recruits more PIKFYVE and TSC1 molecules to the plasma membrane. This results in the enhanced TSC2 ubiquitination and degradation, and subsequent activation of RheB and mTORC1/S6K1, leading to oncogenic transformation. The role played by VPS34 in regulating mTOR/S6K1 activity and cellular transformation is underscored by the fact that the VPS34 kinase dead mutant blocks VPS34-induced recruitment of PIKFYVE and TSC1 to the plasma membrane. This study provides mechanistic insight into the cellular function of VPS34 in regulating oncogenic transformation and important indications for identifying VPS34 specific mutations in human cancers.

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