The TOR (target of rapamycin) proteins play important roles in nutrient signaling in eukaryotic cells. Rapamycin treatment induces a state reminiscent of the nutrient starvation response, often resulting in growth inhibition. Using a chemical genetic modifier screen, we identified two classes of small molecules, small-molecule inhibitors of rapamycin (SMIRs) and small-molecule enhancers of rapamycin (SMERs), that suppress and augment, respectively, rapamycin's effect in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Probing proteome chips with biotinylated SMIRs revealed putative intracellular target proteins, including Tep1p, a homolog of the mammalian PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10) tumor suppressor, and Ybr077cp (Nir1p), a protein of previously unknown function that we show to be a component of the TOR signaling network. Both SMIR target proteins are associated with PI(3,4)P2, suggesting a mechanism of regulation of the TOR pathway involving phosphatidylinositides. Our results illustrate the combined use of chemical genetics and proteomics in biological discovery and map a path for creating useful therapeutics for treating human diseases involving the TOR pathway, such as diabetes and cancer.
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