[Role of the sweet taste receptor in glucose metabolism: no sweets for diabetes?]

Yakugaku Zasshi. 2015;135(6):763-7. doi: 10.1248/yakushi.14-00250-1.
[Article in Japanese]


Type 2 diabetes is closely associated with our daily diets and has become a global health problem with increasing number of patients. Maintaining energy homeostasis is essentially required for the treatment of diabetes. Energy metabolism starts with taking in a meal. Nutrients including amino acids, fatty acids and glucose in the digest have been shown to act on the neuroendocrine cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and thereby play important roles in energy homeostasis. Therefore, the GI tract is now recognized as a sensor system for nutrient signals. Taste receptor type 1 member 2 (T1R2) is known to function as a co-receptor with T1R3 to detect sweet chemicals in the taste buds. It has been proposed that the T1R2/T1R3 receptor complex acts as sweet sensor in the intestine, and plays a pivotal role in sensing sugars and maintaining glucose homeostasis through incretin secretion. To clarify the physiological roles of T1R2 in glucose homeostasis, T1r2-lacZ knock-in/knock-out mice were generated. We found lacZ gene expression in the GI tract where T1r3 expression has been reported. Interestingly, the T1r2-lacZ knock-in mice showed impaired glucose tolerance on oral glucose challenge but not on intraperitoneal injection. However, the fasting glucose level in T1r2-lacZ knock-in mice was comparable to that in wild type mice. These results suggest an important role of the sweet taste receptor system in the intestine when stimulated by glucose. Therefore, the roles of T1R2 will be presented and the mechanism for metabolic homeostasis will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Food
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / cytology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Incretins / metabolism
  • Lac Operon
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neuroendocrine Cells / physiology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology*
  • Sweetening Agents*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Buds / physiology


  • Incretins
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Sweetening Agents
  • taste receptors, type 1
  • Glucose