The ability to sense and respond to fluctuations in environmental nutrient levels is a requisite for life. Nutrient scarcity is a selective pressure that has shaped the evolution of most cellular processes. Different pathways that detect intracellular and extracellular levels of sugars, amino acids, lipids and surrogate metabolites are integrated and coordinated at the organismal level through hormonal signals. During food abundance, nutrient-sensing pathways engage anabolism and storage, whereas scarcity triggers homeostatic mechanisms, such as the mobilization of internal stores through autophagy. Nutrient-sensing pathways are commonly deregulated in human metabolic diseases.
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D.M.S. is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01 CA129105, CA103866 and AI047389; R21 AG042876) and awards from the American Federation for Aging, Starr Foundation, Koch Institute Frontier Research Program, and the Ellison Medical Foundation. A.E. is supported by the Charles King's Trust Foundation/Simeon J. Fortin Fellowship. W.C.C. is supported by American Cancer Society – Ellison Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship (PF-13-356-01-TBE). D.M.S. is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Efeyan, A., Comb, W. & Sabatini, D. Nutrient-sensing mechanisms and pathways. Nature 517, 302–310 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature14190
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