Alpha-ketoglutarate enhances milk protein synthesis by porcine mammary epithelial cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG), a key intermediate in the Krebs cycle, has been reported to promote protein synthesis through activating mechanistic targeting of rapamycin (mTOR) in enterocytes. The study tested the hypothesis that AKG may enhance growth and milk protein synthesis in porcine mammary epithelial cells (PMECs). PMECs were cultured for 96h in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's-F12 Ham medium (DMEM-F12) containing prolactin (2g/ml) and AKG (0 or 1.5mM). At the end of 96-h culture, the abundance of apoptosis-related proteins (caspase-3, caspase-9), milk-specific proteins (-lactalbumin and -casein), mTOR signaling proteins (mTOR, p-mTOR, PERK, p-PERK, eIF2a, P70S6K and p-P70S6K), and endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS)-associated proteins (BiP and CHOP) in PMEC were determined. Addition of AKG dose-dependently enhanced cell viability in the absence or presence of prolactin, with optimal concentrations of AKG being at 1.0 and 1.5mM, respectively. In the presence of prolactin, addition of 1.5mM AKG: (1) decreased (P<0.05) the abundance of caspase-3 and caspase-9 by 21 and 39%; (2) enhanced (P<0.05) the phosphorylation of p-mTOR and p-P70S6K by 39 and 89%, respectively; (3) increased (P<0.05) the production of -casein and -lactalbumin by 16 and 20%, respectively; (4) attenuated (P<0.05) the expression of CHOP by 34% but promoted (P<0.05) the expression of BiP by 46%; (5) increased (P<0.05) the secretion of lactose by 15%, when compared to the 0mM AKG group. Rapamycin (50nM; an inhibitor of mTOR) attenuated (P<0.05) the stimulatory effect of AKG on mTOR signaling and syntheses of milk protein and lactose, while relieving (P<0.05) an inhibitory effect of AKG on expression of proteins related to ERS. Collectively, our results indicate that AKG enhances milk proteinproduction by modulating mTOR and ERS signaling pathways in PMECs.

published proceedings

  • Amino Acids

author list (cited authors)

  • Jiang, Q., He, L., Hou, Y., Chen, J., Duan, Y., Deng, D., ... Yao, K.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Jiang, Qian||He, Liuqin||Hou, Yongqing||Chen, Jiashun||Duan, Yehui||Deng, Dun||Wu, Guoyao||Yin, Yulong||Yao, Kang

publication date

  • September 2016