Balancing mTOR signaling and autophagy in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Zhou Zhu, Chuanbin Yang, Ashok Iyaswamy, Senthilkumar Krishnamoorthi, Sravan Gopalkrishnashetty Sreenivasmurthy, Jia Liu, Ziying Wang, Benjamin Chun Kit Tong, Juxian Song, Jiahong Lu, King Ho Cheung, Min Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway plays a critical role in regulating cell growth, proliferation, and life span. mTOR signaling is a central regulator of autophagy by modulating multiple aspects of the autophagy process, such as initiation, process, and termination through controlling the activity of the unc51-like kinase 1 (ULK1) complex and vacuolar protein sorting 34 (VPS34) complex, and the intracellular distribution of TFEB/TFE3 and proto-lysosome tubule reformation. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a serious, common neurodegenerative disease characterized by dopaminergic neuron loss in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and the accumulation of Lewy bodies. An increasing amount of evidence indicates that mTOR and autophagy are critical for the pathogenesis of PD. In this review, we will summarize recent advances regarding the roles of mTOR and autophagy in PD pathogenesis and treatment. Further characterizing the dysregulation of mTOR pathway and the clinical translation of mTOR modulators in PD may offer exciting new avenues for future drug development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number728
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Autophagy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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