Loss of hepatic DEPTOR alters the metabolic transition to fasting

Alexandre Caron, Mathilde Mouchiroud, Nicolas Gautier, Sébastien M. Labbé, Romain Villot, Laurie Turcotte, Blandine Secco, Guillaume Lamoureux, Michael Shum, Yves Gélinas, André Marette, Denis Richard, David M. Sabatini, Mathieu Laplante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objective The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a serine/threonine kinase that functions into distinct protein complexes (mTORC1 and mTORC2) that regulates growth and metabolism. DEP-domain containing mTOR-interacting protein (DEPTOR) is part of these complexes and is known to reduce their activity. Whether DEPTOR loss affects metabolism and organismal growth in vivo has never been tested. Methods We have generated a conditional transgenic mouse allowing the tissue-specific deletion of DEPTOR. This model was crossed with CMV-cre mice or Albumin-cre mice to generate either whole-body or liver-specific DEPTOR knockout (KO) mice. Results Whole-body DEPTOR KO mice are viable, fertile, normal in size, and do not display any gross physical and metabolic abnormalities. To circumvent possible compensatory mechanisms linked to the early and systemic loss of DEPTOR, we have deleted DEPTOR specifically in the liver, a tissue in which DEPTOR protein is expressed and affected in response to mTOR activation. Liver-specific DEPTOR null mice showed a reduction in circulating glucose upon fasting versus control mice. This effect was not associated with change in hepatic gluconeogenesis potential but was linked to a sustained reduction in circulating glucose during insulin tolerance tests. In addition to the reduction in glycemia, liver-specific DEPTOR KO mice had reduced hepatic glycogen content when fasted. We showed that loss of DEPTOR cell-autonomously increased oxidative metabolism in hepatocytes, an effect associated with increased cytochrome c expression but independent of changes in mitochondrial content or in the expression of genes controlling oxidative metabolism. We found that liver-specific DEPTOR KO mice showed sustained mTORC1 activation upon fasting, and that acute treatment with rapamycin was sufficient to normalize glycemia in these mice. Conclusion We propose a model in which hepatic DEPTOR accelerates the inhibition of mTORC1 during the transition to fasting to adjust metabolism to the nutritional status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-458
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Fasting
  • Glucose
  • Liver
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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