Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an important nutrient sensor that plays a critical role in cellular metabolism, growth, proliferation and apoptosis and in the cellular response to oxidative stress. In addition, mTOR - raptor complex, also called mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), generates an inhibitory feedback loop on insulin receptor substrate proteins. It was suggested that nutrient overload leads to insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 resistance in peripheral insulin-responsive tissues and in the β-cells through sustained activation of mTORC1. In this review, we summarize the literature on the regulation and function of mTOR, its role in the organism's response to nutrients and its potential impact on lifespan, insulin resistance and the metabolic adaptation to hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetes. We also propose a hypothesis based on data in the literature as well as data generated in our laboratory, which assigns a central positive role to mTOR in the maintenance of β-cell function and mass in the diabetic environment.
- Insulin secretion