Cells need to change their metabolism depending on their fuel supply. This means that when there is plenty of fuel in the form of food and oxygen, cells have plenty of energy to “spend” on growing and building new proteins.
However, when food is scarce, cells need to save energy by shutting down their growth and recycling any old proteins that they don’t need anymore. This process is called autophagy.
Cell growth is controlled by a protein call mTOR, and autophagy is controlled by AMPK. A number of studies have shown that Folliculin interacts with both of these proteins, and is somehow involved in controlling the switch between cell growth and autophagy.
Publication date: December 2014
Review date: December 2017