Nutrient Signaling, Mammalian Target of Rapamycin and Ovine Conceptus Development
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This research was conducted to test the hypothesis that select nutrients including glucose, leucine, arginine and glutamine stimulate conceptus development by activating mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin; HGNC approved gene name: FRAP1, FK506 binding protein 12-rapamycin associated protein 1) signaling pathway. First, temporal changes in quantities of select nutrients (glucose, amino acids, glutathione, calcium, sodium and potassium) in uterine lumenal fluid from cyclic (Days 3 to 16) and pregnant (Days 10 to 16) ewes were determined. Total recoverable glucose, Arg, Gln, Leu, Asp, Glu, Asn, His, beta-Ala, Tyr, Trp, Met, Val, Phe, Ile, Lys, Cys, Pro, glutathione, calcium and sodium was greater in uterine fluid of pregnant compared to cyclic ewes between Days 10 and 16 after onset of estrus. Of note were remarkable increases in glucose, Arg, Leu and Gln in uterine flushings of pregnant ewes between Days 10 and 16 of pregnancy. Second, effects of the estrous cycle, pregnancy, progesterone (P4) and interferon tau (IFNT) on expression of both facilitative (SLC2A1, SLC2A3 and SLC2A4) and sodium-dependent (SLC5A1 and SLC5A11) glucose transporters, cationic amino acid transporters (SLC7A1, SLC7A2 and SLC7A3), neutral amino acid transporters (SLC1A4, SLC1A5, SLC3A1, SLC6A14, SLC6A19, SLC7A5, SLC7A6, SLC7A8, SLC38A3, SLC38A6 and SLC43A2) and acidic amino acid transporters (SLC1A1, SLC1A2 and SLC1A3) in ovine uterine endometria from Days 10 to 16 of the estrous cycle and Days 10 to 20 of pregnancy as well as in conceptuses from Days 13 to 18 of pregnancy were determined. Among these genes, SLC2A3 and SLC7A6 were detectable only in trophectoderm and endoderm of conceptuses. The abundance of mRNAs for SLC2A1, SLC2A4, SLC5A1, SLC5A11, SLC7A1, SLC7A2, SLC1A4, SLC1A5, SLC43A2 and SLC1A3 changed dynamically in ovine uterine endometria according to day of the estrous cycle and early pregnancy. Expression of mRNAs for SLC2A1, SLC5A11 and SLC7A1 in endometria was induced by P4 and further stimulated by IFNT with shortterm treatment (12 days), while expression of SLC7A1 and SLC1A5 in endometria required long-term treatment (20 days) with P4 and IFNT. Third, effects of the estrous cycle, pregnancy, P4 and IFNT on expression of nitric oxide synthase (NOS1, NOS2 and NOS3), GTP cyclohydrolase (GCH1), ornithine decarboxylase 1(ODC1), insulin-like growth factor II (IGF2), FRAP1 complexes (FRAP1, LST8, MAPKAP1, RAPTOR, RICTOR), regulators (TSC1, TSC2, RHEB) and an effector (EIF4EBP1) of FRAP1 signaling in ovine uterine endometria from Days 10 to 16 of the estrous cycle and Days 10 to 20 of pregnancy as well as in conceptuses from Days 13 to 18 of pregnancy were determined. All of these genes were expressed in ovine uterine endometrium and conceptuses. Among these genes, expression of NOS1, IGF2, RHEB and EIF4EBP1 changed dynamically due to day of the estrous cycle and early pregnancy. Progesterone stimulated NOS1 and GCH1 expression while IFNT inhibited NOS1 expression in uterine endometria, and P4 and IFNT stimulated expression of RHEB and EIF4EBP1 in uterine endometria. Collectively, these results indicate that: 1) the availability of select nutrients in the ovine uterine lumen increases to support the rapid growth and elongation of the conceptus during the peri-implantation stage of pregnancy; 2) P4 and/or IFNT stimulate(s) glucose and amino acid transporters to facilitate their transport from maternal tissues and/or blood into the uterine lumen during early pregnancy; 3) the FRAP1 cell signaling pathway mediates interactions between the maternal uterus and peri-implantation conceptus and both P4 and IFNT affect this pathway by regulating expression of RHEB and EIF4EBP1. Expression of NOS, ODC1 and IGF2 appear to be linked to FRAP1 signaling in both uteri and peri-implantation conceptuses.
mammalian target of rapamycin
Gao, Haijun (2009). Nutrient Signaling, Mammalian Target of Rapamycin and Ovine Conceptus Development. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from