Regulatory Functions Of Amino Acids

Through the production of diversified metabolites, amino acids regulate cell metabolism and play vital roles in animal homeostasis (Table 2). For example, arginine stimulates the secretion of insulin, growth hormone, pro lactin, glucagon, and placental lactogen, thereby modulating protein, lipid, and glucose metabolism. Second, arginine activates N-carbamoylglutamate synthase, which uses glutamate as a substrate. Thus, arginine and glutamate maintain the urea cycle in an active state. Third, through signaling pathways involving the mammalian target of rapamycin protein kinase, leucine increases protein synthesis and inhibits proteolysis in skeletal muscle. Fourth, alanine inhibits pyruvate kinase, thereby regulating gluconeogenesis and glycolysis to ensure net glucose production by hepatocytes during periods of food deprivation. Fifth, glutamate and aspartate mediate the transfer of reducing equivalents across the mitochondrial membrane and thus regulate glycolysis and cellular redox state. Finally, coordination of amino acid metabolism among the liver, skeletal muscle, intestine, and immune cells maximizes glutamine availability for renal ammo-niagenesis and therefore the regulation of acid base balance in acidotic animals.[1]

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