mTOR generates an auto-amplification loop by triggering the βTrCP- and CK1α-dependent degradation of DEPTOR.
DEPTOR is a recently identified inhibitor of the mTOR kinase that is highly regulated at the posttranslational level. In response to mitogens, we found that DEPTOR was rapidly phosphorylated on three serines in a conserved degron, facilitating binding and ubiquitylation by the F box protein βTrCP, with consequent proteasomal degradation of DEPTOR. Phosphorylation of the βTrCP degron in DEPTOR is executed by CK1α after a priming phosphorylation event mediated by either the mTORC1 or mTORC2 complexes. Blocking the βTrCP-dependent degradation of DEPTOR via βTrCP knockdown or expression of a stable DEPTOR mutant that is unable to bind βTrCP results in mTOR inhibition. Our findings reveal that mTOR cooperates with CK1α and βTrCP to generate an auto-amplification loop to promote its own full activation. Moreover, our results suggest that pharmacologic inhibition of CK1 may be a viable therapeutic option for the treatment of cancers characterized by activation of mTOR-signaling pathways.