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 July 30, 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 July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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