The field of gut nutrient chemosensing is evolving rapidly. Recent advances have uncovered the mechanism by which specific nutrient components evoke multiple metabolic responses. Deorphanization of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in the gut has helped identify previously unliganded receptors and their cognate ligands. In this review, we discuss nutrient receptors, their ligand preferences, and the evoked neurohormonal responses. Family A GPCRs includes receptor GPR93, which senses protein and proteolytic degradation products, and free fatty acid-sensing receptors. Short-chain free fatty acids are ligands for FFA2, previously GPR43, and FFA3, previously GPR41. FFA1, previously GPR40, is activated by long-chain fatty acids with GPR120 activated by medium- and long-chain fatty acids. The GPR119 agonist ethanolamide oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and bile acid GPR131 agonists have also been identified. Family C receptors ligand preferences include L-amino acids, carbohydrate, and tastants. The metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR), calcium-sensing receptor (CaR), and GPCR family C, group 6, subtype A receptor (GPRC6A) mediate L-amino acid-sensing. Taste receptors have a proposed role in intestinal chemosensing; sweet, bitter, and umami evoke responses in the gut via GPCRs. The mechanism of carbohydrate-sensing remains controversial: the heterodimeric taste receptor T1R2/T1R3 and sodium glucose cotransporter 1 (SGLT-1) expressed in L cells are the two leading candidates. Identification of specific nutrient receptors and their respective ligands can provide novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of diabetes, acid reflux, foregut mucosal injury, and obesity.
Keywords: Fatty acids, amino acids, bile acids, G Protein-coupled receptors, enteroendocrine cells, gut hormones, cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide, metabotropic glutamate receptor, transgenic mice, obesity, diabetes, SGLT1, TIR2/TIR3