UMMS Affiliation

Program in Molecular Medicine; Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Biochemistry | Cell Biology | Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Developmental Biology | Enzymes and Coenzymes | Genetic Phenomena | Lipids


mTORC2 phosphorylates AKT in a hydrophobic motif site that is a biomarker of insulin sensitivity. In brown adipocytes, mTORC2 regulates glucose and lipid metabolism, however the mechanism has been unclear because downstream AKT signaling appears unaffected by mTORC2 loss. Here, by applying immunoblotting, targeted phosphoproteomics and metabolite profiling, we identify ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY) as a distinctly mTORC2-sensitive AKT substrate in brown preadipocytes. mTORC2 appears dispensable for most other AKT actions examined, indicating a previously unappreciated selectivity in mTORC2-AKT signaling. Rescue experiments suggest brown preadipocytes require the mTORC2/AKT/ACLY pathway to induce PPAR-gamma and establish the epigenetic landscape during differentiation. Evidence in mature brown adipocytes also suggests mTORC2 acts through ACLY to increase carbohydrate response element binding protein (ChREBP) activity, histone acetylation, and gluco-lipogenic gene expression. Substrate utilization studies additionally implicate mTORC2 in promoting acetyl-CoA synthesis from acetate through acetyl-CoA synthetase 2 (ACSS2). These data suggest that a principal mTORC2 action is controlling nuclear-cytoplasmic acetyl-CoA synthesis.


Kinases, Proteomics

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

DOI of Published Version



Martinez Calejman C, Trefely S, Entwisle SW, Luciano A, Jung SM, Hsiao W, Torres A, Hung CM, Li H, Snyder NW, Villén J, Wellen KE, Guertin DA. mTORC2-AKT signaling to ATP-citrate lyase drives brown adipogenesis and de novo lipogenesis. Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 29;11(1):575. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-14430-w. PMID: 31996678; PMCID: PMC6989638. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nature communications

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PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.