Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) controls global translation of mRNA into protein by phosphorylating p70 S6 kinase (S6K) and eIF4E-binding protein-1. Akt and Rheb, a GTP-binding protein, regulate mTOR protein kinase activity. Molting in crustaceans is regulated by ecdysteroids synthesized by a pair of molting glands, or Y-organs (YOs), located in the cephalothorax. During premolt, the YOs hypertrophy and increase production of ecdysteroids. Rapamycin (1 μM) inhibited ecdysteroid secretion in Carcinus maenas and Gecarcinus lateralis YOs in vitro, indicating that ecdysteroidogenesis requires mTOR-dependent protein synthesis. The effects of molting on the expression of four key mTOR signaling genes (mTOR, Akt, Rheb, and S6K) in the YO was investigated. Partial cDNAs encoding green crab (C. maenas) mTOR (4031 bp), Akt (855 bp), and S6K (918 bp) were obtained from expressed sequence tags. Identity/similarity of the deduced amino acid sequence of the C. maenas cDNAs to human orthologs were 72%/81% for Cm-mTOR, 58%/73% for Cm-Akt, and 77%/88% for Cm-S6K. mTOR, Akt, S6K, and elongation factor 2 (EF2) in C. maenas and blackback land crab (G. lateralis) were expressed in all tissues examined. The two species differed in the effects of molting on gene expression in the YO. In G. lateralis, Gl-mTOR, Gl-Akt, and Gl-EF2 mRNA levels were increased during premolt. By contrast, molting had no effect on the expression of Cm-mTOR, Cm-Akt, Cm-S6K, Cm-Rheb, and Cm-EF2. These data suggest that YO activation during premolt involves up regulation of mTOR signaling genes in G. lateralis, but is not required in C. maenas.

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology



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Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


This is an Author’s Original Manuscript of an article published by Elsevier in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology in 2014, available online: This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license