Methionine and valine activate the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 pathway through heterodimeric amino acid taste receptor (TAS1R1/TAS1R3) and intracellular Ca2+ in bovine mammary epithelial cells

Y. Zhou, Z. Zhou, J. Peng, J. J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amino acids play a key role in regulating milk protein synthesis partly through activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway. However, the involvement of extracellular AA sensing receptors in this process is not well understood. In nonruminants, it is well established that the AA taste 1 receptor member 1/3 (TAS1R1/TAS1R3) heterodimer contributes to the sensing of most L-AA. Whether this receptor is functional in bovine mammary cells is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine essential AA signaling through TAS1R1/TAS1R3 and their roles in regulating mTOR signaling pathway and casein mRNA abundance in primary bovine mammary epithelial cells and the Mac-T cell line. The bovine mammary epithelial cells were stimulated with complete Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (+EAA), medium without EAA (−EAA), or medium supplemented with only 1 of the 10 essential AA, respectively. The nonessential AA levels were the same across all treatments. Small interference RNA targeting TAS1R1 were designed and transfected into bovine primary mammary epithelial cells (bPMEC). Supplementation of a complete mixture of essential AA or Arg, Val, Leu, His, Phe, Met, and Ile individually led to greater mTOR phosphorylation. Phosphorylation of ribosomal protein S6 kinase β-1 was greater in the presence of Val, Leu, Trp, Met, and Ile. Valine, Leu, Met, and Ile led to greater eIF4E-binding protein 1 phosphorylation. Although +EAA and a few individual AA tested induced increases in intracellular calcium, Met and Val were the most potent. Knockdown of TAS1R1 decreased intracellular calcium in bPMEC cultured with both Val and Met. Phosphorylation of mTOR, ribosomal protein S6 kinase β-1, and eIF4E-binding protein 1 was lower when TAS1R1 was knocked-down in bPMEC supplemented with Val and Met. In addition, small interference RNA silencing of TAS1R1 resulted in lower β-casein (CSN2) abundance. The TAS1R1/TAS1R3 receptor may sense extracellular AA and activate mTOR signaling in bovine mammary cells, likely by elevating intracellular calcium concentration. This mechanism appears to have a role in Met- and Val-induced changes in CSN2 mRNA abundance. Further in vivo studies will have to be performed to assess the relevance of this mechanism in the mammary gland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11354-11363
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • amino acids
  • dairy cow
  • lactation
  • ruminant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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