Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Bitter Blocker Discovered

06.06.2011
Serendipitous finding increases understanding of taste, opening doors to better nutrition and therapeutic compliance.

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 experiments in vitro 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.

The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Monell advances scientific understanding of the mechanisms and functions of taste and smell to benefit human health and well-being. Using an interdisciplinary approach, scientists collaborate in the programmatic areas of sensation and perception; neuroscience and molecular biology; environmental and occupational health; nutrition and appetite; health and well-being; development, aging and regeneration; and chemical ecology and communication. For more information about Monell, visit www.monell.org.

Integral Molecular is a biotechnology company committed to providing innovative solutions for scientific research and drug discovery applications involving integral membrane proteins. Integral Molecular is a privately-owned company founded in 2001 and located in central Philadelphia. The company has been working with pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic customers and collaborators since its inception, providing membrane protein related products and services that advance its customers’ scientific objectives. For more information about Integral Molecular, visit www.integralmolecular.com.

Leslie Stein | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.monell.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht RUDN chemist tested a new nanocatalyst for obtaining hydrogen
18.10.2018 | RUDN University

nachricht Dandelion seeds reveal newly discovered form of natural flight
18.10.2018 | University of Edinburgh

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

RUDN chemist tested a new nanocatalyst for obtaining hydrogen

18.10.2018 | Life Sciences

Massive organism is crashing on our watch

18.10.2018 | Earth Sciences

Electrical enhancement: Engineers speed up electrons in semiconductors

18.10.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>