A family of candidate taste receptors in human and mouse.
The gustatory system of mammals can sense four basic taste qualities, bitter, sweet, salty and sour, as well as umami, the taste of glutamate. Previous studies suggested that the detection of bitter and sweet tastants by taste receptor cells in the mouth is likely to involve G-protein-coupled receptors. Although two putative G-protein-coupled bitter/sweet taste receptors have been identified, the chemical diversity of bitter and sweet compounds leads one to expect that there is a larger number of different receptors. Here we report the identification of a family of candidate taste receptors (the TRBs) that are members of the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily and that are specifically expressed by taste receptor cells. A cluster of genes encoding human TRBs is located adjacent to a Prp gene locus, which in mouse is tightly linked to the SOA genetic locus that is involved in detecting the bitter compound sucrose octaacetate. Another TRB gene is found on a human contig assigned to chromosome 5p15, the location of a genetic locus (PROP) that controls the detection of the bitter compound 6-n-propyl-2-thiouracil in humans.
Matsunami, H; Montmayeur, JP; Buck, LB
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