The present study was carried out to investigate the changes in amino acid (AA) contents of crop milk and plasma and mRNA abundance of AA transporters and AA synthesis-related enzymes in the crop tissue of male and female pigeons during incubation and chick-rearing periods. Forty-two pairs of adult White King pigeons with 2 fertile eggs per pair were randomly divided into 7 groups by different breeding stages. The AA content of crop milk decreased from day 1 (R1) to day 25 (R25) of chick rearing (P < 0.05). In both male and female adult pigeons, the contents of Thr, Leu, Val, His, Asp, and Pro in plasma increased to maximum levels on R25. Parental sex effect and interaction between stage and sex were observed in the AA contents of pigeon plasma (P < 0.05). For AA transporters, the mRNA abundances of SNAT2, ASCT1, LAT1, and y+LAT2 in the male crops reached the highest value on day 17 of incubation (I17), and the peak mRNA levels of PAT-1, xCT, b0,+AT, and CAT1 were found on R7 (P < 0.05). In females, the abundances of ASCT1, B0AT1, asc-1, and CAT1 mRNA peaked on R1, whereas the maximum levels of LAT1, PAT-1, b0,+AT, and y+LAT2 were observed on R7. For enzymes involved in AA synthesis, the highest gene expressions of glutamate dehydrogenase 1, acetolactate synthase in both parent pigeons, and L-threonine 3-dehydrogenase in female pigeon crops were attained on I17. The expressions of ornithine-δ-aminotransferase, glutamic-oxal(o)acetic transaminase 1, glutamic-oxal(o)acetic transaminase 2, asparagine synthetase, serine hydroxymethyltransferase 2, and glutamic-pyruvic transaminase 2 in both sexes and argininosuccinate lyase and L-threonine 3-dehydrogenase in males were the highest on R1. In conclusion, AA used for pigeon crop milk formation may originate from plasma and intracellular synthesis. The genes involved in AA transport and synthesis varied significantly with sexual effects, indicating that other factors should be considered in future explorations of the mechanism of protein formation in crop milk.
Keywords: amino acid transporter; crop milk; enzyme; pigeon; plasma.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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