RHEB1 insufficiency in aged male mice is associated with stress-induced seizures

Qi Tian, Pavel Gromov, Joachim H. Clement, Yingming Wang, Marc Riemann, Falk Weih, Xiao Xin Sun, Mu Shui Dai, Lev M. Fedorov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), a protein kinase, is a central regulator of mammalian metabolism and physiology. Protein mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) functions as a major sensor for the nutrient, energy, and redox state of a cell and is activated by ras homolog enriched in brain (RHEB1), a GTP-binding protein. Increased activation of mTORC1 pathway has been associated with developmental abnormalities, certain form of epilepsy (tuberous sclerosis), and cancer. Clinically, those mTOR-related disorders are treated with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin and its rapalogs. Because the effects of chronic interference with mTOR signaling in the aged brain are yet unknown, we used a genetic strategy to interfere with mTORC1 signaling selectively by introducing mutations of Rheb1 into the mouse. We created conventional knockout (Rheb1+/−) and gene trap (Rheb1Δ/+) mutant mouse lines. Rheb1-insufficient mice with different combinations of mutant alleles were monitored over a time span of 2 years. The mice did not show any behavioral/neurological changes during the first 18 months of age. However, after aging (> 18 months of age), both the Rheb1+/− and Rheb1Δ /− hybrid males developed rare stress-induced seizures, whereas Rheb1+/− and Rheb1Δ /− females and Rheb1Δ/+ and Rheb1Δ/Δ mice of both genders did not show any abnormality. Our findings suggest that chronic intervention with mTORC1 signaling in the aged brain might be associated with major adverse events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-570
Number of pages14
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Gene targeting
  • Mice
  • Rapamycin
  • Rheb1
  • mTOR inhibitor
  • mTORC1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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