Constitutive activation with overexpression of the mTORC2-phospholipase D1 pathway in uterine leiomyosarcoma and STUMP: Morphoproteomic analysis with therapeutic implications

Sadhna Dhingra, Michelle E. Rodriguez, Qi Shen, Xuizhen Duan, Melissa L. Stanton, Lei Chen, Rongzhen Zhang, Robert E. Brown

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33 Scopus citations


The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is centrally involved in growth, survival and metabolism. In cancer, mTOR is frequently hyperactivated and is a clinically validated target for therapy and drug development. Biologically, mTOR acts as the catalytic subunit of two functionally distinct complexes, called mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) which is predominantly cytoplasmic in subcellular localization and mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) which is both cytoplasmic and nuclear. mTORC1 is sensitive to the selective inhibitor rapamycin. By contrast, mTORC2 is relatively resistant to rapamycin. Moreover, its putative downstream effector, Akt phosphorylated on serine 473 represents a signal transduction pathway for tumor survival. Phospholipase D (PLD) and its product, phosphatidic acid (PA) have been implicated as an activator of mTOR signaling, including the direct phosphorylative activation of p70S6K at threonine 389. The latter promotes cell cycle progression. In this study, we investigated the activation status and subcellular localization of mTOR and the relative expression of PLD1, as well as their downstream effectors in a spectrum of uterine smooth muscle tumors using normal myometria as controls. The results show significant activation with overexpression of phosphorylated mTORC2 complex in uterine leiomyosarcoma (ULMS) and smooth muscle tumors of uncertain malignant potential (STUMP) as evidenced by nuclear localization of p-mTOR (Ser 2448) in ULMS>STUMP>uterine leiomyoma and normal myometria (p<0.05) and with overexpression of PLD1(p<0.05). Correlatively, there are overexpressions of nuclear p-Akt (Ser 473) and nuclear p-p70S6K (Thr 389) in ULMS and STUMP (p<0.05). The activation with overexpression of components of the mTORC2-PLD1 pathway in ULMS and to a lesser degree in STUMP provides insight into their tumorigenic mechanisms. Thus the development of therapies designed to target mTORC2 and PLD1 activity may be beneficial in treating ULMS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-146
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2 2011



  • Morphoproteomics
  • Mtorc2
  • Phospholipase D1
  • Stump
  • Uterine leiomyosarcomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology

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