Methionine metabolism in Yucatan miniature swine

McBreairty, Laura E. (2014) Methionine metabolism in Yucatan miniature swine. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Methionine is an essential amino acid which when not incorporated into protein, can be converted to S-adenosylmethionine, the universal methyl donor in over 200 transmethylation reactions, that include creatine and phosphatidylcholine (PC) synthesis, as well as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) methylation. Following transmethylation, homocysteine is formed which can be converted to cysteine via transsulfuration or remethylated to methionine by receiving a methyl group from folate or betaine. Changes to methyl group availability in utero can lead to permanent changes in epigenetic patterns of DNA methylation which has been implicated in “fetal programming,” a phenomenon associated with poor nutrition during fetal development that results in low birth weight and disease in later life. It has been shown that programming can also occur in the neonate. So our global objective was to understand how the variability of nutrients involved in methionine metabolism can affect methionine and methyl group availability. We hypothesize that nutrients that converge on methionine metabolism can affect methionine availability for its various functions. In this thesis, we used intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) piglets to investigate whether a global nutritional insult in utero can lead to a perturbed methionine metabolism. Our results demonstrate that IUGR piglets have a lower capacity to dispose of homocysteine via both transsulfuration and remethylation pathways, as well as a lower incorporation of methyl groups into PC. The second objective of this thesis was to determine whether variation in methionine supply and demand can affect methionine availability. We demonstrated that stimulating either acute or chronic creatine synthesis leads to lower methyl incorporation into protein and PC in pigs. Furthermore, when methionine is limiting, supplementation with either folate or betaine leads to higher methionine availability for protein synthesis. Lastly, because creatine is increasingly being utilized as an ergogenic and neuroprotective supplement, we wanted to determine whether provision of the creatine precursor, guanidinoacetate (GAA), could effectively increase tissue creatine stores. We showed that 2.5 weeks of supplementation with GAA is more effective than creatine at increasing hepatic and muscle creatine stores. The results of this thesis demonstrate that the presence of IUGR, an increased demand for creatine synthesis or the supplementation with remethylation nutrients can each affect methionine availability; all are important when considering neonatal nutrient requirements. Furthermore, although GAA is effective at increasing levels of tissue creatine, higher GAA methylation can limit methionine availability for growth and synthesis of PC.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 8386
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: Amino acid metabolism, Methionine, Swine, Transmethylation
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biochemistry
Date: February 2014
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Methionine--Metabolism; Miniature pigs--Infancy--Metabolism; Miniature pigs--Infancy--Nutrition; Fetal growth retardation

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