Morphoproteomic analysis reveals an overexpressed and constitutively activated phospholipase D1-mTORC2 pathway in endometrial carcinoma

Qi Shen, Melissa L. Stanton, Wei Feng, Michelle E. Rodriguez, Lois Ramondetta, Lei Chen, Robert E. Brown, Xiuzhen Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) assembles into two distinct complexes: mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) is predominantly cytoplasmic and highly responsive to rapamycin, whereas mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) is both cytoplasmic and nuclear, and relatively resistant to rapamycin. mTORC1 and mTORC2 phosphorylatively regulate their respective downstream effectors p70S6K/4EBP1, and Akt. The resulting activated mTOR pathways stimulate protein synthesis, cellular proliferation, and cell survival. Moreover, phospholipase D (PLD) and its product, phosphatidic acid (PA) have been implicated as one of the upstream activators of mTOR signaling. In this study, we investigated the activation status as well as the subcellular distribution of mTOR, and its upstream regulators and downstream effectors in endometrial carcinomas (ECa) and non-neoplastic endometrial control tissue. Our data show that the mTORC2 activity is selectively elevated in endometrial cancers as evidenced by a predominant nuclear localization of the activated form of mTOR (p-mTOR at Ser2448) in malignant epithelium, accompanied by overexpression of nuclear p-Akt (Ser473), as well as overexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A isoform, the latter a resultant of target gene activation by mTORC2 signaling via hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2alpha. In addition, expression of PLD1, one of the two major isoforms of PLD in human, is increased in tumor epithelium. In summary, we demonstrate that the PLD1/PA-mTORC2 signal pathway is overactivated in endometrial carcinomas. This suggests that the rapamycin-insensitive mTORC2 pathway plays a major role in endometrial tumorigenesis and that therapies designed to target the phospholipase D pathway and components of the mTORC2 pathway should be efficacious against ECa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2 2011


  • Endometrial carcinoma
  • Morphoproteomics
  • Phospholipase D1
  • mTORC2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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