Intermediate metabolites and molecular correlates of one‑carbon and nutrient metabolism differ in tissues from Holstein fetuses

Ahmad A. Aboragah, Danielle N. Sherlock, Nithat Wichasit, John Mauck, Juan J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Methionine and folate cycles along with transsulfuration comprise the one‑carbon metabolism (OCM) pathway. Amino acids and other nutrients feed into OCM, which is central to cellular function. mRNA abundance, proteins (Western blotting), and metabolites (GC-MC) associated with OCM were used to characterize these mechanisms in fetal tissues. Liver, whole intestine, and semitendinosus muscle were harvested from fetuses in 6 multiparous Holstein cows (37 kg milk/d, 100 d gestation). Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED (SAS 9.4). Protein abundance of BHMT was greatest (P < 0.01) in liver suggesting active remethylation of homocysteine to methionine. This idea was supported by the greater (P < 0.05) mRNA of CBS, BHMT, MTR, SHMT1, and MAT1A (encoding OCM enzymes) in liver. The antioxidant protein GPX3 had greatest (P < 0.05) abundance in liver, whereas the glutathione-transferase GSTM1 was 5-fold greater (P < 0.05) in intestine than liver and muscle. Greatest concentrations of glycine, serine, and taurine along with lower cysteine underscored the relevance of OCM in fetal liver. Phosphoethanolamine concentration was greatest (4-fold, P < 0.05) in intestine and along with the greatest (P < 0.05) mRNA of SLC44A1 (choline transporter), CHKA, and CEPT1 underscored the importance of the CDP-choline pathway. Greatest (P < 0.05) mRNA of PPARA, CPT1A, and HMGCS2 along with lower PCK1 in liver highlighted a potential reliance on fatty acid oxidation. In contrast, greater (P < 0.05) concentration of myo-inositol in muscle and intestine suggested both tissues rely on glucose as main source of energy. Future research should address how environmental inputs such as maternal nutrition alter these pathways in fetal tissues and their phenotypic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104988
JournalResearch in Veterinary Science
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Gestation
  • Lactation
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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