Feeding stimulates protein synthesis in muscle and liver of neonatal pigs through an mTOR-dependent process

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Nov;279(5):E1080-7. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.2000.279.5.E1080.


Protein synthesis is repressed in both skeletal muscle and liver after a short-term fast and is rapidly stimulated in response to feeding. Previous studies in rats and pigs have shown that the feeding-induced stimulation of protein synthesis is associated with activation of the 70-kDa ribosomal protein S6 kinase (S6K1) as well as enhanced binding of eukaryotic initiation factor eIF4E to eIF4G to form the active eIF4F complex. In cells in culture, hormones and nutrients regulate both of these events through a protein kinase termed the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). In the present study, the involvement of mTOR in the feeding-induced stimulation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle and liver was examined. Pigs at 7 days of age were fasted for 18 h, and then one-half of the animals were fed. In addition, one-half of the animals in each group were administered rapamycin (0.75 mg/kg) 2 h before feeding. The results reveal that treating 18-h fasted pigs with rapamycin, a specific inhibitor of mTOR, before feeding prevented the activation of S6K1 and the changes in eIF4F complex formation observed in skeletal muscle and liver after feeding. Rapamycin also ablated the feeding-induced stimulation of protein synthesis in liver. In contrast, in skeletal muscle, rapamycin attenuated, but did not prevent, the stimulation of protein synthesis in response to feeding. The results suggest that feeding stimulates hepatic protein synthesis through an mTOR-dependent process involving enhanced eIF4F complex formation and activation of S6K1. However, in skeletal muscle, these two processes may account for only part of the stimulation of protein synthesis, and thus additional steps may be involved in the response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4F
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Peptide Initiation Factors / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Phosphotransferases (Alcohol Group Acceptor) / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • Protein Kinases*
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / metabolism
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • Swine
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4F
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Peptide Initiation Factors
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • Phosphotransferases (Alcohol Group Acceptor)
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Sirolimus