Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New bitter blocker discovered

Date:
June 3, 2011
Source:
Monell Chemical Senses Center
Summary:
Bitter taste often causes rejection that can interfere with food selection, nutrition and therapeutic compliance. This is especially true for children. Now, scientists have discovered a compound that inhibits bitterness by acting directly on a subset of bitter taste receptors.

Although bitterness can sometimes be desirable -- such as in the taste of coffee or chocolate -- more often bitter taste causes rejection that can interfere with food selection, nutrition and therapeutic compliance. This is especially true for children. Now, scientists from the Monell Center and Integral Molecular describe the discovery of a compound that inhibits bitterness by acting directly on a subset of bitter taste receptors.

"Bitter taste is a major problem for pediatric drug compliance and also for proper nutrition, such as eating those healthy but bitter green vegetables," said Monell senior author Paul Breslin, Ph.D., a sensory biologist. "But we currently have very limited ways to effectively control bitter taste."

Bitterness is detected by a family of approximately 25 different taste receptors called TAS2Rs. Together, the TAS2Rs respond to a broad array of structurally different compounds, many of which are found in nature and can be toxic.

Discovery of bitter blockers would help scientists understand the signaling mechanisms of these receptors and promote the design of novel and more effective blockers.

Monell and Integral Molecular are collaborating on a large project to understand the structure and function of TAS2Rs. In a serendipitous discovery, the researchers found that probenecid, a molecule frequently used in receptor assays, is an inhibitor of a subset of bitter taste receptors. Probenecid also is an FDA-approved therapeutic for gout.

In the study, published in PLoS ONE, a series of in vitro studies revealed that probenecid does not physically block interaction of bitter molecules with the receptor's primary binding site. Rather, it appears to bind elsewhere on the receptor to modulate the receptor's ability to interact with the bitter molecule.

"Probenecid's mechanism of action makes it a useful tool for understanding how bitter receptors function," said Integral Molecular senior author Joseph B. Rucker, Ph.D. "This knowledge will help us develop more potent bitter taste inhibitors."

A series of human sensory studies established that probenecid robustly inhibited the bitter taste of salicin, a compound that stimulates one of the target receptors.

"This demonstrates how we can take in vitro experiments and go on to show how they make a difference functionally and perceptually," said Breslin.

Additional studies will continue to explore the structure and function of TAS2Rs. The overall goal is to identify the regions of the receptors that contribute to bitter molecule binding and how binding events lead to signaling events within the cell.

Understanding modulation of bitter receptor function may have additional implications for the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems, as bitter taste receptors also are expressed in the nose, the lungs and the intestines.

Also contributing to the research were first author Tiffani A. Greene, Anu Thomas, Eli Berdougo, and Benjamin J. Doranz of Integral Molecular, and Suzanne Alarcon of Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Dr. Breslin is also faculty at Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. The research was funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monell Chemical Senses Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tiffani A. Greene, Suzanne Alarcon, Anu Thomas, Eli Berdougo, Benjamin J. Doranz, Paul A. S. Breslin, Joseph B. Rucker. Probenecid Inhibits the Human Bitter Taste Receptor TAS2R16 and Suppresses Bitter Perception of Salicin. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (5): e20123 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020123

Cite This Page:

Monell Chemical Senses Center. "New bitter blocker discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602122351.htm>.
Monell Chemical Senses Center. (2011, June 3). New bitter blocker discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602122351.htm
Monell Chemical Senses Center. "New bitter blocker discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602122351.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins