Activation of protein kinase Akt via its direct phosphorylation by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 2 (mTORC2) couples extracellular growth and survival cues with pathways controlling cell growth and proliferation, yet how growth factors target the activity of mTORC2 toward Akt is unknown. In this study, we examine the localization of the obligate mTORC2 component, mSin1, inside cells and report the development of a reporter to examine intracellular localization and regulation by growth factors of the endogenous mTORC2 activity. Using a combination of imaging and biochemical approaches, we demonstrate that inside cells, mTORC2 activity localizes to the plasma membrane, mitochondria, and a subpopulation of endosomal vesicles. We show that unlike the endosomal pool, the activity and localization of mTORC2 via the Sin1 pleckstrin homology domain at the plasma membrane is PI3K and growth factor independent. Furthermore, we show that membrane recruitment is sufficient for Akt phosphorylation in response to growth factors. Our results indicate the existence of spatially separated mTORC2 populations with distinct sensitivity to PI3K inside cells and suggest that intracellular localization could contribute to regulation of mTORC2 activity toward Akt.
- Submitted: 18 October 2016
- Revision received 19 December 2016
- Accepted: 4 January 2017
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