IMR Press / FBL / Volume 20 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.2741/4338

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Nutritional and regulatory roles of leucine in muscle growth and fat reduction
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1 Chinese Academy of Science, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Research Center for Healthy Breeding Livestock and Poultry, Hunan Engineering and Research Center for Animal and Poultry Science, Key Laboratory of Agroecology in Subtropical Region, Scientific Observing and Experimental Station of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science in South-Central China, Ministry of Agriculture, Changsha 410125, Hunan, Peoples R China
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
3 Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA 77843
Academic Editor:Guoyao Wu
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2015, 20(4), 796–813;
Published: 1 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino acids in nutrition, health, and disease)

The metabolic roles for L-leucine, an essential branched-chain amino acid (BCAA), go far beyond serving exclusively as a building block for de novo protein synthesis. Growing evidence shows that leucine regulates protein and lipid metabolism in animals. Specifically, leucine activates the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway, including the 70 kDa ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1) and eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4E-binding protein 1 (4EBP1) to stimulate protein synthesis in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue and to promote mitochondrial biogenesis, resulting in enhanced cellular respiration and energy partitioning. Activation of cellular energy metabolism favors fatty acid oxidation to CO2 and water in adipocytes, lean tissue gain in young animals, and alleviation of muscle protein loss in aging adults, lactating mammals, and food-deprived subjects. As a functional amino acid, leucine holds great promise to enhance the growth, efficiency of food utilization, and health of animals and humans.

Energy partitioning
Mitochondrial biogenesis
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