The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) is a master regulator of cell growth and metabolism. Leucine (Leu) activates mTORC1 and many have tried to identify the mechanisms whereby cells sense Leu in this context. Here we describe that the Leu metabolite acetyl-coenzyme A (AcCoA) positively regulates mTORC1 activity by EP300-mediated acetylation of the mTORC1 regulator, Raptor, at K1097. Leu metabolism and consequent mTORC1 activity are regulated by intermediary enzymes. As AcCoA is a Leu metabolite, this process directly correlates with Leu abundance, and does not require Leu sensing via intermediary proteins, as has been described previously. Importantly, we describe that this pathway regulates mTORC1 in a cell-type-specific manner. Finally, we observed decreased acetylated Raptor, and inhibited mTORC1 and EP300 activity in fasted mice tissues. These results provide a direct mechanism for mTORC1 regulation by Leu metabolism.
Son et al. find that the leucine metabolite, acetyl-coenzyme A, promotes mTORC1 activity through EP300-mediated acetylation of Raptor, an mTORC1 regulator. The pathway that is cell-type specific, allows for intermediary enzymes to regulate mTORC1 activity, without a need for leucine sensing. In fasted mice, Raptor acetylation decreases in some tissues, leading to mTORC1 inhibition.