The Effect of L-Ornithine on the Phosphorylation of mTORC1 Downstream Targets in Rat Liver

  • Kokubo, Takeshi (Research and Development Division, Kirin Company, Limited) ;
  • Maeda, Shyuichi (Research Laboratories for Health Science and Food Technologies, Kirin Company, Limited) ;
  • Tazumi, Kyoko (Research Laboratories for Health Science and Food Technologies, Kirin Company, Limited) ;
  • Nozawa, Hajime (Research Laboratories for Key Technologies, Kirin Company, Limited) ;
  • Miura, Yutaka (Research Laboratories for Health Science and Food Technologies, Kirin Company, Limited) ;
  • Kirisako, Takayoshi (Research Laboratories for Key Technologies, Kirin Company, Limited)
  • Received : 2015.09.24
  • Accepted : 2015.12.08
  • Published : 2015.12.31


A non-protein amino acid, L-ornithine (Orn), has been shown to stimulate the urea cycle and tissue protein synthesis in the liver. The purpose of the current study was to assess whether Orn affects the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway, which is involved in protein synthesis. Primary cultured cells isolated from Wistar rat liver were incubated in an amino acid-free medium, followed by addition of Orn for 3 h. The cell lysate was subjected to immunoblotting to evaluate the phosphorylation of downstream targets of mTORC1, including p70S6K, S6, and 4EBP1. To assess the involvement of mTORC1 for the effect of Orn, the cells were pretreated with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin before the addition of Orn and the cell lysate was subjected to immunoblotting. We next examined whether the effects of Orn were exerted in vivo. Orn was orally administered to 18 h food-deprived rats, the blood and the livers were collected at 1 and 3 h after administration for immunoblotting. Orn treatment for primary cultured cells for 3 h enhanced the phosphorylation of p70S6K, S6, and 4EBP1. In addition, rapamycin blocked the effects of Orn completely (p70S6K and S6) or partially (4EBP1). The oral administration of Orn to the rat also augmented the phosphorylation of mTORC1 downstream targets notably in S6 at 1 h. Our findings demonstrate that Orn has the potential to induce the phosphorylation of downstream targets of mTORC1 in the rat liver. This may be mediated by the augmentation of mTORC1 activity.


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