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Cell. 2000 Mar 17;100(6):703-11.

T2Rs function as bitter taste receptors.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.

Abstract

Bitter taste perception provides animals with critical protection against ingestion of poisonous compounds. In the accompanying paper, we report the characterization of a large family of putative mammalian taste receptors (T2Rs). Here we use a heterologous expression system to show that specific T2Rs function as bitter taste receptors. A mouse T2R (mT2R-5) responds to the bitter tastant cycloheximide, and a human and a mouse receptor (hT2R-4 and mT2R-8) responded to denatonium and 6-n-propyl-2-thiouracil. Mice strains deficient in their ability to detect cycloheximide have amino acid substitutions in the mT2R-5 gene; these changes render the receptor significantly less responsive to cycloheximide. We also expressed mT2R-5 in insect cells and demonstrate specific tastant-dependent activation of gustducin, a G protein implicated in bitter signaling. Since a single taste receptor cell expresses a large repertoire of T2Rs, these findings provide a plausible explanation for the uniform bitter taste that is evoked by many structurally unrelated toxic compounds.

PMID:
10761935
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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