July 11, 2018

Comparative Gastrointestinal Physiology Symposium

ASAS Comparative Gastrointestinal Physiology Symposium: Taste perception throughout life and evolution - Sponsored by Pancosma

By: Anne Zinn

The Comparative Gastrointestinal Physiology Symposium sponsored by Pancosma took place on Tuesday, July 10 at the ASAS-CSAS Annual Meeting. This session gave speakers a chance to present on topical relating to taste perception throughout life and evolution. Soraya Shirazi-Beechey, University of Liverpool, explained to the audience that the sense of taste has evolved in response to changes in diet and how sweet and amino acid perceptions are mediated in mammals. Functions of these receptors are typically related to feeding ecology and are selectively expressed in subsets of taste receptor cells an internal enteroendocrine cells of the gut. Shirazi-Beechey then focused her presentation on two areas - plasticity in TR sensory systems across vertebrates and how early in life taste receptors are expressed. In regards to taste plasticity, Shirazi-Beechey used the example of carnivores, such as cats, vs. the nectar feeder hummingbird. Carnivores have lost the T1R2 component of the sweet taste receptor and an appetitive behavior towards sweet diets, while the sweet nectar hummingbird has repurposed the ancestral umami taste receptor T1R1-T1R3 to allow for sweet taste perception. Among other examples, Shirazi-Beechey used this information to describe the molecular basis for these changes in taste behaviors and presented data showing that the T1R family members are expressed in pre-term as well as suckling and adult swine enteroendocrine cells, indicating that gut-expressed taste perception is present well before weaning.
Other topics of discussion during this symposium included sweet sensing by gut bacteria (Kristian Daly, University of Liverpool), the effect and management of taste disorders in later life (Margot Gosney, University of Reading), the developmental and functional significance in human flavor perception in early life (Gary Beauchamp, Monell Chemical Senses Center), and the intersection of microbiology and neurobiology to examine microbiome-behavior relationships inducing selectively bred taste phenotypes (Mark Lyte, Iowa State University). 
The Comparative Gastrointestinal Physiology Symposium was made possible by Pancosma, a provider of innovative animal feed additives, solutions, and concepts. Dr. Shirazi-Beechey is also the recipient of the  Presidential Award for International Achievements in Animal Science award and was recognized at the ASAS Awards Ceremony Monday evening