Sepsis-induced alterations in protein-protein interactions within mTOR complex 1 and the modulating effect of leucine on muscle protein synthesis

Abid A. Kazi, Anne M. Pruznak, Robert A. Frost, Charles H. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Sepsis-induced muscle atrophy is produced in part by decreased protein synthesis mediated by inhibition of mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin). The present study tests the hypothesis that alteration of specific protein-protein interactions within the mTORC1 (mTOR complex 1) contributes to the decreased mTOR activity observed after cecal ligation and puncture in rats. Sepsis decreased in vivo translational efficiency in gastrocnemius and reduced the phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4E-binding protein (BP) 1, S6 kinase (S6K) 1, and mTOR, compared with time-matched pair-fed controls. Sepsis decreased T246-phosphorylated PRAS40 (proline-rich Akt substrate 40) and reciprocally increased S792-phosphorylated raptor (regulatory associated protein of mTOR). Despite these phosphorylation changes, sepsis did not alter PRAS40 binding to raptor. The amount of the mTOR-raptor complex did not differ between groups. In contrast, the binding and retention of both 4E-BP1 and S6K1 to raptor were increased, and, conversely, the binding of raptor with eIF3 was decreased in sepsis. These changes in mTORC1 in the basal state were associated with enhanced 5′-AMP activated kinase activity. Acute in vivo leucine stimulation increased muscle protein synthesis in control, but not septic rats. This muscle leucine resistance was associated with coordinated changes in raptor-eIF3 binding and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation. Overall, our data suggest the sepsis-induced decrease in muscle protein synthesis may be mediated by the inability of 4E-BP1 and S6K1 to be phosphorylated and released from mTORC1 as well as the decreased recruitment of eIF3 necessary for a functional 48S complex. These data provide additional mechanistic insight into the molecular mechanisms by which sepsis impairs both basal protein synthesis and the anabolic response to the nutrient signal leucine in skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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