The Good Food Sense

Science's STKE  22 Mar 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 276, pp. tw113
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2762005tw113

Some animals can recognize that a meal is deficient in amino acids and thus reject such offerings within 20 minutes. This behavioral response to amino acid deficiency in omnivores has been known for some time, but the nutrient sensor has eluded discovery. Hao et al. found that an ancient amino acid sensing mechanism found in yeast is conserved in the neurons of the anterior piriform cortex. This amino acid chemosensory brain area projects to neural circuits controlling food intake.

S. Hao, J. W. Sharp, C. M. Ross-Inta, B. J. McDaniel, T. G. Anthony, R. C. Wek, D. R. Cavener, B. C. McGrath, J. B. Rudell, T. J. Koehnle, D. W. Gietzen, Uncharged tRNA and sensing of amino acid deficiency in mammalian piriform cortex. Science 307, 1776-1778 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]