Research ArticleCell Biology

Npr2 inhibits TORC1 to prevent inappropriate utilization of glutamine for biosynthesis of nitrogen-containing metabolites

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Sci. Signal.  16 Dec 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 356, pp. ra120
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005948

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Cells must be capable of switching between growth and autophagy in unpredictable nutrient environments. The conserved Npr2 protein complex (comprising Iml1, Npr2, and Npr3; also called SEACIT) inhibits target of rapamycin complex 1 (TORC1) kinase signaling, which inhibits autophagy in nutrient-rich conditions. In yeast cultured in media with nutrient limitations that promote autophagy and inhibit growth, loss of Npr2 enables cells to bypass autophagy and proliferate. We determined that Npr2-deficient yeast had a metabolic state distinct from that of wild-type yeast when grown in minimal media containing ammonium as a nitrogen source and a nonfermentable carbon source (lactate). Unlike wild-type yeast, which accumulated glutamine, Npr2-deficient yeast metabolized glutamine into nitrogen-containing metabolites and maintained a high concentration of S-adenosyl methionine (SAM). Moreover, in wild-type yeast grown in these nutrient-limited conditions, supplementation with methionine stimulated glutamine consumption for synthesis of nitrogenous metabolites, demonstrating integration of a sulfur-containing amino acid cue and nitrogen utilization. These data revealed the metabolic basis by which the Npr2 complex regulates cellular homeostasis and demonstrated a key function for TORC1 in regulating the synthesis and utilization of glutamine as a nitrogen source.

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