G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are membrane proteins that recognize molecules in the extracellular milieu and transmit signals inside cells to regulate their behaviors. Ligands for many GPCRs are hormones or neurotransmitters that direct coordinated, stereotyped adaptive responses. Ligands for other GPCRs provide information to cells about the extracellular environment. Such information facilitates context-specific decision making that may be cell autonomous. Among ligands that are important for cellular decisions are amino acids, required for continued protein synthesis, as metabolic starting materials and energy sources. Amino acids are detected by a number of class C GPCRs. One cluster of amino acid-sensing class C GPCRs includes umami and sweet taste receptors, GPRC6A, and the calcium-sensing receptor.Wehave recently found that the umami taste receptor heterodimer T1R1/T1R3 is a sensor of amino acid availability that regulates the activity of the mammalian target of rapamycin. This review focuses on an array of findings on sensing amino acids and sweet molecules outside of neurons by this cluster of class C GPCRs and some of the physiologic processes regulated by them.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology