Mammary epithelial cells (MECs) in culture are a useful model for elucidating mammary gland metabolism and changes that occur under different nutrient disponibility. MECs were exposed to different treatments: 100% EAA for 8 h and 24 h restriction (R); 2% EAA for 8 h and 24 h R; 2% EAA for 8 h and 24 h + 100% EAA for 8 h and 24 h restriction + re-feeding (R + RF). Western blotting and protein quantification was performed. The Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) software identified the amino acids (AAs) and signaling pathways. The chi-squared test, multiple classification analysis, and analysis of variance were used for the purification and identification of data. Intracellular casein levels were not affected. The KEGG analysis revealed that the important pathways of metabolism of AAs, which were involved in processes related to metabolism and biosynthesis of phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan (fumarate, acetyl-CoA, and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle), were affected by both R and R + RF treatments, mainly through the glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase-2 enzyme. Additionally, metabolic processes mediated by the mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase, S-adenosylmethionine synthetase, and asparagine synthase proteins positively regulated the carbohydrate pathway, pyruvate, and TCA cycles, as well as the metabolism of alanine, aspartate, and glutamate metabolism (carbohydrate and TCA cycle). We hypothesized that MECs have the capacity to utilize alternative pathways that ensure the availability of substrates for composing milk proteins.
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