The Rheb-TORC1 signaling axis functions as a developmental checkpoint.
In many eukaryotes, the small GTPase Rheb functions as a switch to toggle activity of TOR complex 1 (TORC1) between anabolism and catabolism, thus controlling lifespan, development, and autophagy. Our CRISPR-generated, fluorescently tagged endogenous C. elegans RHEB-1 and DAF-15/Raptor are expressed ubiquitously and localize to lysosomes. Disruption of LET-363/TOR and DAF-15/Raptor are required for development past the third larval stage (L3). We observed that deletion of RHEB-1 similarly conferred L3 arrest. Unexpectedly, robust RNAi-mediated depletion of TORC1 components caused arrest at stages prior to L3. Accordingly, conditional depletion of endogenous DAF-15/Raptor in the soma revealed that TORC1 is required at each stage of the life cycle to progress to the next stage. Reversal of DAF-15 depletion permits arrested animals to recover to continue development. Our results are consistent with TORC1 functioning as a developmental checkpoint that governs at each stage the decision of the animal to progress through development.