Methionine supply during the periparturient period enhances insulin signaling, amino acid transporters, and mechanistic target of rapamycin pathway proteins in adipose tissue of Holstein cows

Y. Liang, F. Batistel, C. Parys, J. J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Enhanced postruminal supply of Met during the periparturient period increases dry matter intake and milk yield. In nonruminants, adipose tissue is responsive to AA supply, and can use AA as fuels or for protein synthesis regulated in part via insulin and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. Whether enhancing supply of Met has an effect on insulin and mTOR pathways in adipose tissue in peripartal cows is unknown. Multiparous Holstein cows were assigned from −28 to 60 d relative to parturition to a basal diet (control; 1.47 Mcal/kg of dry matter and 15.3% crude protein prepartum; 1.67 Mcal/kg and 17.7% crude protein postpartum) or the control plus ethyl-cellulose rumen-protected Met (RPM). The RPM was fed individually at a rate of 0.09% of dry matter intake prepartum and 0.10% postpartum. Subcutaneous adipose tissue harvested at −10, 10, and 30 d relative to parturition (days in milk) was used for quantitative PCR and Western blotting. A glucose tolerance test was performed at −12 and 12 d in milk to evaluate insulin sensitivity. Area under the curve for glucose in the pre- and postpartum tended to be smaller in cows fed Met. Enhanced Met supply led to greater overall mRNA abundance of Gln (SLC38A1), Glu (SLC1A1), L-type AA (Met, Leu, Val, Phe; SLC3A2), small zwitterionic α-AA (SLC36A1), and neutral AA (SLC1A5) transporters. Abundance of AKT1, RPS6KB1, and EIF4EBP1 was also upregulated in response to Met. A diet × day interaction was observed for protein abundance of insulin receptor due to Met cows having lower values at 30 d postpartum compared with controls. The diet × day interaction was significant for hormone-sensitive lipase due to Met cows having greater abundance at 10 d postpartum compared with controls. Enhanced Met supply upregulated protein abundance of insulin-responsive proteins phosphorylated (p)-AKT, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, and fatty acid synthase. Overall abundance of solute carrier family 2 member 4 tended to be greater in cows fed Met. A diet × day interaction was observed for mTOR protein abundance due to greater values for RPM cows at 30 d postpartum compared with controls. Enhanced RPM supply upregulated overall protein abundance of solute carrier family 1 member 3, p-mTOR, and ribosomal protein S6. Overall, data indicate that mTOR and insulin signaling pathways in adipose tissue adapt to the change in physiologic state during the periparturient period. Further studies should be done to clarify whether the activation of p-AKT or increased availability of AA leads to the activation of mTOR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4403-4414
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019



  • amino acid transporter
  • insulin response
  • mechanistic target of rapamycin
  • transition period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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