Resveratrol is a natural polyphenol with demonstrated function in healthy ageing, including effects in supporting good cardiovascular function, blood glucose levels, bone density and cognitive function. Resveratrol has even suggested to play a role in cancer prevention.
Resveratrol-induced autophagy has been suggested to be a key process in mediating many beneficial effects of resveratrol. However, the molecular targets that mediate these effects remain unknown.
In the present work published in the prestigious journal Nature, the authors demonstrate that resveratrol induces autophagy by directly inhibiting the mTOR-ULK1 pathway. Importantly, the authors showed resveratrol directly inhibits mTOR by docking onto the ATP-binding pocket of mTOR –i.e., it competes with ATP, a molecule that transfers the chemical energy needed for some enzymatic reactions.
This direct inhibition of mTOR by resveratrol and its role on autophagy induction are an important step on the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms behind resveratrol’s health benefits.