The role of amino acid transporters in nutrition

Nadege Poncet, Peter M. Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    79 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose of review

    We consider recent advances in epithelial amino acid transport physiology and our understanding of the functioning of amino acid transporters as sensors, as well as carriers, of tissue nutrient supplies.

    Recent findings

    Gut hormones (e. g. leptin) may regulate intestinal amino acid transporter activity by a variety of mechanisms, although the overall functional significance of such regulation is not yet fully understood. Important functional interactions between amino acid transporters and nutrient-signalling pathways which regulate metabolism [e. g. the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) C1 pathway which promotes cell growth] have been revealed in recent studies. Amino acid transporters on endosomal (e. g. lysosomal) membranes may be of unexpected significance as intracellular nutrient sensors. It is also now evident that certain amino acid transporters may have dual receptor-transporter functions and act as 'transceptors' to sense amino acid availability upstream of signal pathways.


    Increased knowledge on the timescale of the amino acid sensor-signal-effector process(es) should help in the optimization of protein-feeding regimes to gain maximum anabolic effect. New opportunities for nutritional therapy include targeting of amino acid transceptors to promote protein-anabolic signals and mechanisms up-regulating amino acid transporter expression to improve absorptive capacity for nutrients.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-65
    Number of pages9
    JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


    • absorption
    • mTORC1 pathway
    • nutrient signalling
    • transceptor


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