Spatiotemporal Feedforward between PKM2 Tetramers and mTORC1 Prompts mTORC1 Activation
Most mammalian cells couple glucose availability to anabolic processes via the mTORC1 pathway. However, the mechanism by which fluctuations in glucose availability are rapidly translated into mTORC1 signals remains elusive. Here, we show that cells rapidly respond to changes in glucose availability through the spatial coupling of mTORC1 and tetramers of the key glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) on lysosomal surfaces in the late G1/S phases. The lysosomal localization of PKM2 tetramers enables rapid increases in local ATP concentrations around lysosomes to activate mTORC1, while bypassing the need to elevate global ATP levels in the entire cell. In essence, this spatial coupling establishes a feedforward loop to enable mTORC1 to rapidly sense and respond to changes in glucose availability. We further demonstrate that this mechanism ensures robust cell proliferation upon fluctuating glucose availability. Thus, we present mechanistic insights into the rapid response of the mTORC1 pathway to changes in glucose availability. The underlying mechanism may be applicable to the control of other cellular processes.