The ability of cells to sense diverse environmental signals, including nutrient availability and conditions of stress, is critical for both prokaryotes and eukaryotes to mount an appropriate physiological response. While there is a great deal known about the different biochemical pathways that can detect and relay information from the environment, how these signals are integrated to control progression through the cell cycle is still an expanding area of research. Over the past three decades the proteins Tuberin, Hamartin and TBC1D7 have emerged as a large protein complex called the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. This complex can integrate a wide variety of environmental signals to control a host of cell biology events including protein synthesis, cell cycle, protein transport, cell adhesion, autophagy, and cell growth. Worldwide efforts have revealed many molecular pathways which alter Tuberin post-translationally to convey messages to these important pathways, with most of the focus being on the regulation over protein synthesis. Herein we review the literature supporting that the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex plays a critical role in integrating environmental signals with the core cell cycle machinery.
Fetal cardiac rhabdomyomas should trigger the awareness of a potential coexisting tuberous sclerosis complex that can lead to a poor neurological outcome. This condition is not only uncommon but can be easily unrecognized prenatally in the absence of a meticulous neurosonogram and MRI. We emphasize that careful consideration of all prenatal facilities is required to confirm the diagnosis of tuberous sclerosis complex as early as possible during pregnancy.