Ted Powers

Professor Ted Powers

Position Title
Professor and Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences

220C Briggs Hall

Research Interests

Signal Transduction and Cell Growth Control

Mechanisms that regulate cell growth in the model eukaryote, the budding yeast S. cerevisiae, with emphasis on the TOR (target of rapamycin) signal transduction network. We are particularly interested in how this network regulates the flow of genetic information and cellular behavior in response to intracellular as well as environmental cues.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Specialties / Focus

  • Biochemistry
  • Cancer Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cell Division and the Cytoskeleton
  • Cellular Responses to Toxins and Stress
  • Gene Regulation
  • Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Microbiology
  • Molecular Physiology
  • Organelle and Membrane Biology
  • RNA
  • Signal Transduction
  • Structural Biology


  • BCB 212 Cellular Biochemistry
  • MCB 121 Advanced Molecular Biology
  • BIS 101 Genes and Gene Expression
  • BIS 103 Bioenergetics and Metabolism


  • 220 and 224 Briggs Hall

Honors and Awards

  • 2017 Outstanding Teaching Award, UCD BMCDB Graduate Group
  • 2005-2010 UCD Chancellor's Fellow
  • 2003 Outstanding Teaching Award, UCD BMB Graduate Group

    Professional Societies

    • American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)
    • American Society for Biochemistry and Moleculary Biology (ASBMB)


    • 1985 BA Biochemistry and Molecular Biology University of California, Santa Cruz
    • 1992 PhD Biology University of California, Santa Cruz


    Hill, A., Niles, B., Cuyegkeng, A., and Powers, T. (2018) Redesigning TOR kinase to explore the structural basis for TORC1 and TORC2 assembly. Biomolecules Jun 1;8(2). pii: E36. doi: 10.3390/biom8020036 [Epub ahead of print].

    Aouacheria, A. et. al. (2018) Comment on "Sterilizing immunity in the lung relies on targeting fungal apoptosis-like programmed cell death". Science June 22; 360(6395)  pii: eaar6910. doi: 10.1126/science.aar6910 [Epub ahead of print]. 

    Carmona-Gutierrez, D. et. al. (2018) Guidelines and recommendations on yeast cell death nomenclature. Microbial Cell 5, 4-31.

    Vlahakis, A., Muniozguren, N., and Powers, T. (2017) Stress-response transcription factors Msn2 and Msn4 couple TORC2-Ypk1 signaling and mitochondrial respiration to ATG8 gene expression and autophagy. Autophagy 13, 1804-1812.

    Murley, A., Yamada, J., Niles, B.J., Toulmay, A., Prinz, W.A., Powers, T., and Nunnari, J. (2017) Sterol transporters at membrane contact sites regulate TORC1 and TORC2 signaling. J. Cell Biol. 216, 2679-2689.

    Vlahakis, A., Lopez Muniozguren, N., and Powers, T. (2017) Mitochondrial respiration links TOR Complex 2 signaling to calcium regulation and autophagy. Autophagy 13, 1256-1257.

    Stauffer, B. and Powers, T. (2017) Target of rapamycin signaling mediates vacuolar fragmentation. Current Genetics 63, 35-42.

    Vlahakis, A., Lopez Muniozguren, N., and Powers, T. (2016) Calcium channel regulator Mid1 links TORC2-mediated changes in mitochondrial respiration to autophagy. J. Cell Biol. 215, 779-788.

    Klionsky, D., et al (2016) Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition). Autophagy 12, 1554-8627.

    Stauffer, B. and Powers, T. (2015) Target of rapamycin signaling mediates vacuolar fission caused by endoplasmic reticulum stress in S. cerevisiae. Mol. Bio. Cell 26, 4618-4630 .

    Fresques, T., Niles, B., Aronova, S., Mogri, H., Rakhshandehroo, T., and Powers, T. (2015) Regulation of ceramide synthase by casein kinase 2-dependent phosphorylation in S. cerevisiae.  J. Biol. Chem. 290, 1395-1403.

    Vlahakis, A. and Powers, T. (2014) A role for TOR complex 2 signaling in promoting autophagy. Autophagy 10, 2085-2086.

    Niles, B.J. and Powers, T. (2014) TOR Complex 2-Ypk1 signaling regulates actin polarization via reactive oxygen species (ROS). Mol. Biol. Cell 25, 3962-3972.

    Vlahakis, A., Graef, M., Nunnari, J., and Powers, T. (2014) TOR complex 2-Ypk1 signaling is an essential positive regulator of the general amino acid control response and autophagy. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111, 10586-10591.

    Niles, B.J., Joslin, A.C., Fresques, T., and Powers, T. (2014) TOR Complex 2-Ypk1 signaling maintains sphingolipid homeostasis by sensing and regulating ROS accumulation. Cell Reports, 6, 541-552.

    Niles, B.J. & Powers, T. (2012) Plasma membrane proteins Slm1 and Slm2 mediate activation of the AGC kinase Ypk1 by TORC2 and sphingolipids in S. cerevisiae. Cell Cycle 11, 3745-3749

    Niles, B.J., Mogri, H., Hill, A., Vlahakis, A., and Powers, T. (2012) Plasma membrane recruitment and activation of the AGC kinase Ypk1 is mediated by target of rapamycin complex 2 (TORC2) and its effector proteins Slm1 and Slm2. Proc. Natl Acad Sci USA 109, 1536-1541

    Liu, Q, Ren, T, Fresques, T, Oppliger, W, Niles, BJ, Hur, W, Sabatini, DM, Hall, MN, Powers, T, Gray, NS. (2012) Selective ATP-Competitive Inhibitors of TOR Suppress Rapamycin-Insensitive Function of TORC2 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. ACS chemical biology, 7(6): 982-7.

    Powers, T., Arovona, S, and Niles, B. (2010) TORC2 and sphingolipid biosynthesis: Lessons from budding yeast. The Enzymes, Vol. XXVII, 177-197.

    Powers, T. (2008) Cell growth control: mTOR takes on fat. Mol. Cell 31, 775-776

    Aronova, S., Wedaman, K., Aronov, P.A., Fontes, K., Ramos, K., Hammock, B.D., and Powers, T. (2008) Regulation of ceramide biosynthesis by TOR Complex 2. Cell Metabolism 7, 148-158.

    Powers, T. (2007) TOR Signaling and S6 Kinase 1: Yeast Catches Up. Cell Metabolism 6, 1-2.

    Aronova, S., Wedaman, K.P., Anderson, S., Yates, J. III, and Powers, T. (2007) Probing the membrane environment of the TOR kinases reveals functional interactions between TORC1, actin, and membrane trafficking in S. cerevisae. Mol. Biol. Cell 18, 2779-2794.

    Martin, D.E., Powers, T., and Hall, M.N. (2006) Regulation of ribosome biogenesis; Where is TOR? Cell Metabolism 4, 259-260.

    Reinke, A., Chen, J.C.-Y., Aronova, S., and Powers, T. (2006) Caffeine targets TOR complex I and provides evidence for a regulatory link between the FRB and kinase domains of Tor1p. J. Biol. Chem. 281, 31616-31626.

    Chen, C.-Y. & Powers, T. (2006) Coordinate regulation of multiple and distinct biosynthetic pathways by TOR and PKA kinases in S. cerevisiae. Current Genetics 49, 281-293

    Dilova, I. & Powers, T. (2006) Accounting for strain-specific differences during RTG target gene regulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. FEMS Yeast Research Jan 6(1):112-9.

    Powers, T. (2004) Ribosome biogenesis: Giant steps for a giant problem. Cell 119, 901-902.

    Powers T, Dilova I, Chen CY, Wedaman K (2004) Yeast TOR signaling: a mechanism for metabolic regulation. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 279, 39-51

    Powers, T., Chen, C.-Y., Dilova, D., Reinke, A., and Wedaman, K.P. (2004) Tor-signaling and Tor-interacting proteins in yeast. Topics in Current Genetics 7, 201-223.

    Dilova, I., Aronova, S., Chen, J. C.-Y., and Powers, T. (2004) Tor signaling and nutrient-based signals converge on Mks1p phosphorylation to regulate expression of Rtg1p/Rtg3p-dependent genes. J. Biol. Chem 279, 46527-46535.

    Reinke A, Anderson S, McCaffery JM, Yates J 3rd, Aronova S, Chu S, Fairclough S, Iverson C, Wedaman KP, Powers T. (2004) TOR complex 1 (TORC1) includes a novel component, Tco89p (YPL180w), and cooperates with Ssd1p to maintain cellular integrity in S. cerevisiae. J. Biol. Chem 279, 14752-14672

    Wedaman, K.P., Reinke, A., Anderson, S., Yates, J. III, McCaffery, J.M., and Powers, T. (2003) The Tor kinases are in distinct membrane associated protein complexes in S. cerevisiae. Mol. Biol. Cell 14, 1204-1220

    Crespo, J.L., Powers, T., Fowler, B., and Hall, M.N. (2002) The TOR controlled transcription activators GLN3, RTG1 and RTG3 are regulated in response to intracellular levels of glutamine. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99, 6784-6789.

    Dilova, I., Chen, C.-Y., and Powers, T. (2002). Mks1 in concert with TOR signaling negatively regulates RTG target gene expression in S. cerevisiae. Curr. Biol. 12, 389-395.

    Komeili, A., Wedaman, K. P., O'Shea, E. K., and Powers, T. (2000). Mechanism of metabolic control: target of rapamycin signaling links nitrogen quality to the activity of the Rtg1 and Rtg3 transcription factors. J. Cell Biol. 151, 863-878.

    Powers, T. and Walter, P. (1999) Regulation of ribosome biogenesis by the rapamycin-sensitive TOR signaling pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mol. Biol. Cell 10, 987-1000.