MTOR complex 1: A key player in neuroadaptations induced by drugs of abuse

Jeremie Neasta, Segev Barak, Sami Ben Hamida, Dorit Ron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The mammalian (or mechanistic) target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) is a serine and threonine kinase that regulates cell growth, survival, and proliferation. mTORC1 is a master controller of the translation of a subset of mRNAs. In the central nervous system mTORC1 plays a crucial role in mechanisms underlying learning and memory by controlling synaptic protein synthesis. Here, we review recent evidence suggesting that the mTORC1 signaling pathway promotes neuroadaptations following exposure to a diverse group of drugs of abuse including stimulants, cannabinoids, opiates, and alcohol. We further describe potential molecular mechanisms by which drug-induced mTORC1 activation may alter brain functions. Finally, we propose that mTORC1 is a focal point shared by drugs of abuse to mediate drug-related behaviors such as reward seeking and excessive drug intake, and offer future directions to decipher the contribution of the kinase to mechanisms underlying addiction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-184
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Volume130
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Keywords

  • addiction
  • alcohol
  • drugs of abuse
  • limbic system
  • mTOR
  • translation

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