The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway integrates signals from the environment to the nucleus for the regulation of cellular growth, metabolism and survival. Lymphocytes frequently rely on this pathway, but it is carefully regulated through the reception of signals via cytokine, growth factor and co-stimulatory receptors. Recent studies have begun to elucidate why T cell subsets rely on this pathway to varying degrees. Ultimately these findings will help distinguish the parameters that guide T cell homeostasis and activation-induced function between the different T cell populations. The mTOR pathway has been the focus of many immunosuppressive and cancer treatment regimens, therefore there is a great need to understand the impact of suppression not only on the T cell populations targeted, but on bystander T cells as well.