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Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Sep;90(3):743S-746S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27462I. Epub 2009 Jul 1.

Metabotropic glutamate receptor type 1 in taste tissue.

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Institute of Life Sciences, Ajinomoto Co, Inc, Kawasaki, Japan.


l-Glutamate confers cognitive discrimination for umami taste (delicious or savory) and dietary information to the brain through the activation of G protein-coupled receptors in specialized taste receptor cells of the tongue. The taste heterologous receptor T1R1 plus T1R3 is not sufficient to detect umami taste in mice. The lack of T1R3 diminished but did not abolish nerve and behavioral responses in null mice that still contained umami-sensitive taste receptor cells. The remnant umami responses in T1R3 knockout mice indicate that there are also T1R3 independent receptors. Metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (mGluR1), which is widely expressed throughout the central nervous system and regulates synaptic signaling, is another l-glutamate receptor candidate. It is found within taste buds, although the amount of l-glutamate in the perisynaptic region is in the order of micromol/L, whereas free dietary l-glutamate is in the mmol/L range. We reexamined the expression of one mGluR1 variant with a lower affinity for l-glutamate that is found in fungiform and circumvallate papillae. This taste mGluR1 receptor responds in vitro to the concentration of l-glutamate usually found in foodstuffs.

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