Protein deprivation attenuates Hsp expression in fat tissue

Harel Eitam, Rotem Agmon, Aviv Asher, Arieh Brosh, Alla Orlov, Ido Izhaki, Ariel Shabtay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For ruminants, dietary protein is the first limiting component to the utilization of low-quality forage. Throughout gestation, low-protein intake may result in prenatal programming that causes various metabolic disturbances and physiological modulations to dams and their developing embryos. We studied the effect of long-term low-protein diet (LPD) on physiological, biochemical, and molecular parameters of the energy status in gestating beef cows. LPD resulted in significant reductions in feed intake and heart rate and promoted a negative retained energy status already after 3 weeks. Elevated levels of plasma creatinine and non-esterified fatty acids indicate endogenous degradation of fat and protein as a response to the demands in energy and nitrogen. Increasing levels of â- hydroxybutyrate confirmed the negative energy status obtained by the physiological measurements. At the molecular level, subcutaneous fat, Hsp90, Hsp70, and proteasome subunits decreased significantly after 3 months on LPD, in parallel with an increase of adipocyte fatty acidbinding protein. These results may indicate a decrease in turn-over of proteins, at the cost of induced lipolysis, and suggest that the response to protein deprivation, when examined in an energy-storing tissue, includes downregulation of the constitutive heat shock proteins involved in the protein degradation pathway of energy production and upregulation of tissue-specific genes such as those involved in energy production from fat degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-347
Number of pages9
JournalCell Stress and Chaperones
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank Professor Zeev Arad for critically reviewing this manuscript and Professor Ron Kohen, Professor Isaac Ginsburg and Mr. Erez Koren for their assistance in the antioxidative assays. The useful comments of Dr. Yoav Aharoni are deeply acknowledged. This research was supported by funds of the Israeli Milk Marketing Board. Contribution No. 534/08 from the ARO, the Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel.


  • A-FABP
  • Antioxidant capacity
  • BHBA
  • C2 proteasomal subunit
  • Creatinine
  • Energy expenditure
  • Heart rate
  • Hsp70
  • Hsp90
  • Low-protein diet
  • NEFA
  • Ruminants
  • Subcutaneous fat tissue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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