Insulin regulates milk protein synthesis at multiple levels in the bovine mammary gland

Karensa K Menzies, Christophe Marc Lefevre, Keith Lindsay Macmillan, Kevin R Nicholas

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99 Citations (Scopus)


The role of insulin in milk protein synthesis is unresolved in the bovine mammary gland. This study examined the potential role of insulin in the presence of two lactogenic hormones, hydrocortisone and prolactin, in milk protein synthesis. Insulin was shown to stimulate milk protein gene expression, casein synthesis and (14)C-lysine uptake in mammary explants from late pregnant cows. A global assessment of changes in gene expression in mammary explants in response to insulin was undertaken using Affymetrix microarray. The resulting data provided insight into the molecular mechanisms stimulated by insulin and showed that the hormone stimulated the expression of 28 genes directly involved in protein synthesis. These genes included the milk protein transcription factor, ELF5, translation factors, the folate metabolism genes, FOLR1 and MTHFR, as well as several genes encoding enzymes involved in catabolism of essential amino acids and biosynthesis of non-essential amino acids. These data show that insulin is not only essential for milk protein gene expression, but stimulates milk protein synthesis at multiple levels within bovine mammary epithelial cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-217
Number of pages21
JournalFunctional & Integrative Genomics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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