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Leucine promotes porcine myofibre type transformation from fast-twitch to slow-twitch through the protein kinase B (Akt)/forkhead box 1 signalling pathway and microRNA-27a

  • Shurun Zhang (a1), Xiaoling Chen (a1), Zhiqing Huang (a1), Daiwen Chen (a1), Bing Yu (a1), Hong Chen (a2), Jun He (a1), Junqiu Luo (a1), Ping Zheng (a1), Jie Yu (a1) and Yuheng Luo (a1)...


Muscle fibre types can transform from slow-twitch (slow myosin heavy chain (MyHC)) to fast-twitch (fast MyHC) or vice versa. Leucine plays a vital effect in the development of skeletal muscle. However, the role of leucine in porcine myofibre type transformation and its mechanism are still unclear. In this study, effects of leucine and microRNA-27a (miR-27a) on the transformation of porcine myofibre type were investigated in vitro. We found that leucine increased slow MyHC protein level and decreased fast MyHC protein level, increased the levels of phospho-protein kinase B (Akt)/Akt and phospho-forkhead box 1 (FoxO1)/FoxO1 and decreased the FoxO1 protein level. However, blocking the Akt/FoxO1 signalling pathway by wortmannin attenuated the role of leucine in porcine myofibre type transformation. Over-expression of miR-27a decreased slow MyHC protein level and increased fast MyHC protein level, whereas inhibition of miR-27a had an opposite effect. We also found that expression of miR-27a was down-regulated following leucine treatment. Moreover, over-expression of miR-27a repressed transformation from fast MyHC to slow MyHC caused by leucine, suggesting that miR-27a is interdicted by leucine and then contributes to porcine muscle fibre type transformation. Our finding provided the first evidence that leucine promotes porcine myofibre type transformation from fast MyHC to slow MyHC via the Akt/FoxO1 signalling pathway and miR-27a.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Z. Huang, fax +86 28 86290976, email


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These authors contributed equally to this work.



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