Friday, February 07, 2003

An article in the Feb. 7 Cell [which, perversely, I do not seem to have a sitelicense for] demonstrates that the tastes sweet, bitter, and umami use the same signalling pathway. One summary says:
When the researchers screened a range of taste receptor cells for commonly expressed genes, they found two, called TRPM5 and PLCb2, to be widely expressed in taste cells. To demonstrate that the two enzymes � which were known to be part of the same signalling pathway � were necessary for taste signalling, the researchers engineered and examined knockout mice that lacked either of the two enzymes. These mice, they found in both electrophysiological and behavioural tests, lacked the ability to taste sweet, bitter and umami compounds. Also importantly, noted Zuker, the knockout mice retained the ability to respond to salty and sour tastes.
Cf. the press release reprinted here.

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