Arginine, Agmatine, and Polyamines: Key Regulators of Conceptus Development in Mammals
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Arginine is a key amino acid in pregnant females as it is the precursor for nitric oxide (NO) via nitric oxide synthase and forpolyamines (putrescine, spermidine, and spermine) by either arginase II and ornithine decarboxylase to putrescine or via arginine decarboxylase to agmatine and agmatine to putrescine via agmatinase. Polyamines are critical for placental growth and vascularization. Polyamines stabilize DNA and mRNA for gene transcription and mRNA translation, stimulate proliferation of trophectoderm, and formation of multinucleated trophectoderm cells that give rise to giant cells in the placentae of species such as mice. Polyamines activate MTOR cell signaling to stimulate protein synthesis and they are important for motility through modification of beta-catenin phosphorylation, integrin signaling via focal adhesion kinases, cytoskeletal organization, and invasiveness or superficial implantation of blastocysts. Physiological levels of arginine, agmatine, and polyamines are critical to the secretion of interferon tau for pregnancy recognition in ruminants. Arginine, polyamines, and agmatine are very abundant in fetal fluids, fetal blood, and tissues of the conceptus during gestation. The polyamines are thus available to influence a multitude of events including activation of development of blastocysts, implantation, placentation, fetal growth, and development required for the successful establishment and maintenance of pregnancy in mammals.