The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a major regulator of protein synthesis, whereas the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is regarded as the main proteolytic pathway in skeletal muscle. The objective of the current study was to investigate the effects of slow-release urea and rumen-protected (RP) Met and His supplementation of a metabolizable protein (MP)-deficient diet on the abundance of key components of the mTOR pathway and of the UPS in skeletal muscle of dairy cows. Sixty Holstein cows were blocked based on days in milk and milk yield and were randomly assigned within block to 1 of 5 diets in a 10-wk experiment (including the first 2 wk as covariate period) as follows: (1) MP-adequate diet (AMP; 107% of MP requirements, based on the National Research Council requirements); (2) MP-deficient diet (DMP; 95% of MP requirements); (3) DMP supplemented with slow-release urea (DMPU); (4) DMPU supplemented with RPMet (DMPUM); and (5) DMPUM supplemented with RPHis (DMPUMH). Muscle biopsies were collected from longissimus dorsi during the last week of the experiment. The mRNA abundance of key mTOR signaling genes was not affected by the treatments. The phosphorylated (P)-mTOR protein was or tended to be greater for DMP compared with DMPU and AMP, respectively. The P-mTOR protein in DMPUMH was decreased when compared against DMPUM. The P-ribosomal protein S6 tended to be increased by DMPUM compared with DMPU. The abundance of total-S6 was or tended to be greater for DMP compared with AMP and DMPU, respectively. The mRNA abundance of ubiquitin activating and conjugating enzymes was not affected by the treatments, whereas that of muscle ring-finger protein 1 (MuRF-1) was greater in DMP than DMPU. The increased abundance of mTOR-associated signaling proteins and MuRF-1 mRNA abundance indicates a higher rate of protein turnover in muscle of DMP-fed cows. The reduced abundance of P-mTOR by supplementation of RPHis may suggest that His is likely partitioned to the mammary gland in favor of milk protein synthesis rather than to the skeletal muscle in dairy cows fed MP-deficient diets.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology