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Unless otherwise stated all data on this page refer to the human proteins. Gene information is provided for human (Hs), mouse (Mm) and rat (Rn).
Whilst the taste of acid and salty foods appear to be sensed by regulation of ion channel activity, bitter, sweet and umami tastes are sensed by specialised GPCR. Two classes of taste GPCR have been identified, T1R and T2R, which are similar in sequence and structure to Class C and Class A GPCR, respectively. Activation of taste receptors appears to involve gustducin- (Gαt3) and Gα14-mediated signalling, although the precise mechanisms remain obscure. Gene disruption studies suggest the involvement of PLCβ2 , TRPM5  and IP3  receptors in post-receptor signalling of taste receptors. Although predominantly associated with the oral cavity, taste receptors are also located elsewhere, including further down the gastrointestinal system, in the lungs and in the brain.
The composition and stoichiometry of bitter taste receptors is not yet established. Bitter receptors appear to separate into two groups, with very restricted ligand specificity or much broader responsiveness. For example, T2R5 responded to cycloheximide, but not 10 other bitter compounds , while T2R14 responded to at least eight different bitter tastants, including (-)-α-thujone and picrotoxinin .
Specialist database BitterDB contains additional information on bitter compounds and receptors .
1. Behrens M, Brockhoff A, Kuhn C, Bufe B, Winnig M, Meyerhof W. (2004) The human taste receptor hTAS2R14 responds to a variety of different bitter compounds. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 319 (2): 479-85. [PMID:15178431]
2. Chandrashekar J, Mueller KL, Hoon MA, Adler E, Feng L, Guo W, Zuker CS, Ryba NJ. (2000) T2Rs function as bitter taste receptors. Cell, 100 (6): 703-11. [PMID:10761935]
3. Hisatsune C, Yasumatsu K, Takahashi-Iwanaga H, Ogawa N, Kuroda Y, Yoshida R, Ninomiya Y, Mikoshiba K. (2007) Abnormal taste perception in mice lacking the type 3 inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor. J. Biol. Chem., 282 (51): 37225-31. [PMID:17925404]
4. Kinghorn AD, Pan L, Fletcher JN, Chai H. (2011) The relevance of higher plants in lead compound discovery programs. J. Nat. Prod., 74 (6): 1539-55. [PMID:21650152]
5. Slack JP, Brockhoff A, Batram C, Menzel S, Sonnabend C, Born S, Galindo MM, Kohl S, Thalmann S, Ostopovici-Halip L et al.. (2010) Modulation of bitter taste perception by a small molecule hTAS2R antagonist. Curr. Biol., 20 (12): 1104-9. [PMID:20537538]
6. Wiener A, Shudler M, Levit A, Niv MY. (2012) BitterDB: a database of bitter compounds. Nucleic Acids Res., 40 (Database issue): D413-9. [PMID:21940398]
7. Zhang Y, Hoon MA, Chandrashekar J, Mueller KL, Cook B, Wu D, Zuker CS, Ryba NJ. (2003) Coding of sweet, bitter, and umami tastes: different receptor cells sharing similar signaling pathways. Cell, 112 (3): 293-301. [PMID:12581520]
Database page citation:
Taste 2 receptors. Accessed on 23/03/2017. IUPHAR/BPS Guide to PHARMACOLOGY, http://www.guidetopharmacology.org/GRAC/FamilyDisplayForward?familyId=117.
Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY citation:
Alexander SPH, Davenport AP, Kelly E, Marrion N, Peters JA, Benson HE, Faccenda E, Pawson AJ, Sharman JL, Southan C, Davies JA and CGTP Collaborators (2015) The Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY 2015/16: G protein-coupled receptors. Br J Pharmacol. 172: 5744-5869.