Nutrients are primary requirements for development of conceptuses (embryo and extraembryonic membranes), including protein synthesis. We have shown that arginine (Arg), leucine (Leu), and glucose stimulate protein synthesis through phosphorylation of MTOR signaling molecules, thereby increasing proliferation of ovine trophectoderm cells. This study determined whether Arg, Leu, glutamine (Gln), and glucose influence gene expression and protein synthesis in explant cultures of ovine conceptuses recovered from ewes on Day 16 of pregnancy. Conceptuses were deprived of select nutrients and then cultured with either Arg, Leu, Gln, or glucose for 18 h, after which they were analyzed for abundance of MTOR, RPS6K, RPS6, EIF4EBP1 (also known as 4EBP1), IFNT, NOS2, NOS3, GCH1, and ODC1 mRNAs and proteins. Levels of MTOR, RPS6K, RPS6, and EIF4EBP1 mRNAs were not affected by treatment with any of the select nutrients. Similarly, expression of IFNT, NOS2, NOS3, and ODC1 mRNAs were not different. Interestingly, GCH1 mRNA levels increased in response to Arg treatment. Importantly, Arg, Leu, Gln, and glucose increased the abundance of phosphorylated MTOR, RPS6K, RPS6, and EIF4EBP1 proteins as well as NOS and ODC1 proteins, but only Arg increased the abundance of IFNT protein. These findings indicate that Arg, Leu, Gln, and glucose stimulate translation of mRNAs to increase synthesis of proteins through phosphorylation and activation of components of the MTOR signaling pathway. Increases in abundance of IFNT protein (the pregnancy recognition signal), NOS2, NOS3 and GCH1 for conversion of Arg to nitric oxide, and ODC1 for synthesis of polyamines are all important for growth and development of the ovine conceptus during pregnancy.
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Vol. 84 • No. 6