ABSTRACT: Cycloheximide (CyX), a toxic antibiotic with a unique chemical structure generated by the actinomycete, Streptomyces griseus, has emerged as a primary focus of studies on mammalian bitter taste. Rats and mice avoid it at concentrations well below the thresholds for most bitter stimuli and T2R G-protein-coupled receptors specific for CyX with appropriate sensitivity are identified for those species. Like mouse and rat, golden hamsters, Mesocricetus auratus, also detected and rejected micromolar levels of CyX, although 1mM CyX failed to activate the hamster chorda tympani nerve. Hamsters showed an initial tolerance for 500microM CyX, but after that, avoidance of CyX dramatically increased, plasticity not reported for rat or mouse. As the hamster lineage branches well before division of the mouse-rat lineage in evolutionary time, differences between hamster and mouse-rat reactions to CyX are not surprising. Furthermore, unlike hamster LiCl-induced learned aversions, the induced CyX aversion neither specifically nor robustly generalized to other non-ionic bitter stimuli; and unlike adverse reactions to other chemosensory stimuli, aversions to CyX were not mollified by adding a sweetener. Thus, CyX is unlike other bitter stimuli. The gene for the high-affinity CyX receptor is a member of a cluster of five orthologous T2R genes that are likely rodent-specific; this "CyX clade" is found in the mouse, rat and probably hamster, but not in the human or rabbit genome. The rodent CyX-T2R interaction may be one of multiple lineage-specific stimulus-receptor interactions reflecting a response to a particular environmental toxin. The combination of T2R multiplicity, species divergence and gene duplication results in diverse ligands for multiple species-specific T2R receptors, which confounds definition of 'bitter' stimuli across species.
Project description:Although a role for the gastric and intestinal mucosa in molecular sensing has been known for decades, the initial molecular recognition events that sense the chemical composition of the luminal contents has remained elusive. Here we identified putative taste receptor gene transcripts in the gastrointestinal tract. Our results, using reverse transcriptase-PCR, demonstrate the presence of transcripts corresponding to multiple members of the T2R family of bitter taste receptors in the antral and fundic gastric mucosa as well as in the lining of the duodenum. In addition, cDNA clones of T2R receptors were detected in a rat gastric endocrine cell cDNA library, suggesting that these receptors are expressed, at least partly, in enteroendocrine cells. Accordingly, expression of multiple T2R receptors also was found in STC-1 cells, an enteroendocrine cell line. The expression of alpha subunits of G proteins implicated in intracellular taste signal transduction, namely Galpha(gust), and Galpha(t)-(2), also was demonstrated in the gastrointestinal mucosa as well as in STC-1 cells, as revealed by reverse transcriptase-PCR and DNA sequencing, immunohistochemistry, and Western blotting. Furthermore, addition of compounds widely used in bitter taste signaling (e.g., denatonium, phenylthiocarbamide, 6-n-propil-2-thiouracil, and cycloheximide) to STC-1 cells promoted a rapid increase in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration. These results demonstrate the expression of bitter taste receptors of the T2R family in the mouse and rat gastrointestinal tract.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Sensing bitter tastes is crucial for many animals because it can prevent them from ingesting harmful foods. This process is mainly mediated by the bitter taste receptors (T2R), which are largely expressed in the taste buds. Previous studies have identified some T2R gene repertoires, and marked variation in repertoire size has been noted among species. However, the mechanisms underlying the evolution of vertebrate T2R genes remain poorly understood.<h4>Results</h4>To better understand the evolutionary pattern of these genes, we identified 16 T2R gene repertoires based on the high coverage genome sequences of vertebrates and studied the evolutionary changes in the number of T2R genes during birth-and-death evolution using the reconciled-tree method. We found that the number of T2R genes and the fraction of pseudogenes vary extensively among species. Based on the results of phylogenetic analysis, we showed that T2R gene families in teleost fishes are more diverse than those in tetrapods. In addition to the independent gene expansions in teleost fishes, frogs and mammals, lineage-specific gene duplications were also detected in lizards. Furthermore, extensive gains and losses of T2R genes were detected in each lineage during their evolution, resulting in widely differing T2R gene repertoires.<h4>Conclusion</h4>These results further support the hypotheses that T2R gene repertoires are closely related to the dietary habits of different species and that birth-and-death evolution is associated with adaptations to dietary changes.
Project description:Since the process of becoming dead genes or pseudogenes (pseudogenization) is irreversible and can occur rather rapidly under certain environmental circumstances, it is one plausible determinant for characterizing species specificity. To test this evolutionary hypothesis, we analyzed the tempo and mode of duplication and pseudogenization of bitter taste receptor (T2R) genes in humans as well as in 12 nonhuman primates. The results show that primates have accumulated more pseudogenes than mice after their separation from the common ancestor and that lineage-specific pseudogenization becomes more conspicuous in humans than in nonhuman primates. Although positive selection has operated on some amino acids in extracellular domains, functional constraints against T2R genes are more relaxed in primates than in mice and this trend has culminated in the rapid deterioration of the bitter-tasting capability in humans. Since T2R molecules play an important role in avoiding generally bitter toxic and harmful substances, substantial modification of the T2R gene repertoire is likely to reflect different responses to changes in the environment and to result from species-specific food preference during primate evolution.
Project description:In the past several years, tremendous progress has been achieved with the discovery and characterization of vertebrate taste receptors from the T1R and T2R families, which are involved in recognition of bitter, sweet, and umami taste stimuli. Individual differences in taste, at least in some cases, can be attributed to allelic variants of the T1R and T2R genes. Progress with understanding how T1R and T2R receptors interact with taste stimuli and with identifying their patterns of expression in taste cells sheds light on coding of taste information by the nervous system. Candidate mechanisms for detection of salts, acids, fat, complex carbohydrates, and water have also been proposed, but further studies are needed to prove their identity.
Project description:The detection of bitter-tasting compounds by the gustatory system is thought to alert animals to the presence of potentially toxic food. Some, if not all, bitter stimuli activate specific taste receptors, the T2Rs, which are expressed in subsets of taste receptor cells on the tongue and palate. However, there is evidence for both receptor-dependent and -independent transduction mechanisms for a number of bitter stimuli, including quinine hydrochloride (QHCl) and denatonium benzoate (DB).We used brief-access behavioral taste testing of BXD/Ty recombinant inbred (RI) mouse strains to map the major quantitative trait locus (QTL) for taste sensitivity to QHCl. This QTL is restricted to a ~5 Mb interval on chromosome 6 that includes 24 genes encoding T2Rs (Tas2rs). Tas2rs at this locus display in total 307 coding region single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) between the two BXD/Ty RI parental strains, C57BL/6J (quinine-sensitive) and DBA/2J (quinine insensitive); approximately 50% of these mutations are silent. Individual RI lines contain exclusively either C57BL/6J or DBA/2J Tas2r alleles at this locus, and RI lines containing C57BL/6J Tas2r alleles are more sensitive to QHCl than are lines containing DBA/2J alleles. Thus, the entire Tas2r cluster comprises a large haplotype that correlates with quinine taster status.These studies, the first using a taste-salient assay to map the major QTL for quinine taste, indicate that a T2R-dependent transduction cascade is responsible for the majority of strain variance in quinine taste sensitivity. Furthermore, the large number of polymorphisms within coding exons of the Tas2r cluster, coupled with evidence that inbred strains exhibit largely similar bitter taste phenotypes, suggest that T2R receptors are quite tolerant to variation.
Project description:T2Rs (bitter taste-sensing type 2 receptors) are expressed in the oral cavity to prevent ingestion of dietary toxins through taste avoidance. They are also expressed in other cell types, including gut enteroendocrine cells, where their physiological role is enigmatic. Previously, we proposed that T2R-dependent CCK (cholecystokinin) secretion from enteroendocrine cells limits absorption of dietary toxins, but an active mechanism was lacking. In the present study we show that T2R signalling activates ABCB1 (ATP-binding cassette B1) in intestinal cells through a CCK signalling mechanism. PTC (phenylthiocarbamide), an agonist for the T2R38 bitter receptor, increased ABCB1 expression in both intestinal cells and mouse intestine. PTC induction of ABCB1 was decreased by either T2R38 siRNA (small interfering RNA) or treatment with YM022, a gastrin receptor antagonist. Thus gut ABCB1 is regulated through signalling by CCK/gastrin released in response to PTC stimulation of T2R38 on enteroendocrine cells. We also show that PTC increases the efflux activity of ABCB1, suggesting that T2R signalling limits the absorption of bitter tasting/toxic substances through modulation of gut efflux membrane transporters.
Project description:Mammalian spermatogenesis and sperm maturation are susceptible to the effects of internal and external factors. However, how male germ cells interact with and respond to these elements including those potentially toxic substances is poorly understood. Here, we show that many bitter-taste receptors (T2rs), which are believed to function as gatekeepers in the oral cavity to detect and innately prevent the ingestion of poisonous bitter-tasting compounds, are expressed in mouse seminiferous tubules. Our in situ hybridization results indicate that Tas2r transcripts are expressed postmeiotically. Functional analysis showed that mouse spermatids and spermatozoa responded to both naturally occurring and synthetic bitter-tasting compounds by increasing intracellular free calcium concentrations, and individual male germ cells exhibited different ligand-activation profiles, indicating that each cell may express a unique subset of T2r receptors. These calcium responses could be suppressed by a specific bitter-tastant blocker or abolished by the knockout of the gene for the G protein subunit ?-gustducin. Taken together, our data strongly suggest that male germ cells, like taste bud cells in the oral cavity and solitary chemosensory cells in the airway, utilize T2r receptors to sense chemicals in the milieu that may affect sperm behavior and fertilization.
Project description:Bitter taste-sensing G protein-coupled receptors (type 2 taste receptors [T2Rs]) are expressed in taste receptor cells of the tongue, where they play an important role in limiting ingestion of bitter-tasting, potentially toxic compounds. T2Rs are also expressed in gut-derived enteroendocrine cells, where they have also been hypothesized to play a role in limiting toxin absorption. In this study, we have shown that T2R gene expression in both cultured mouse enteroendocrine cells and mouse intestine is regulated by the cholesterol-sensitive SREBP-2. In addition, T2R stimulation of cholecystokinin (CCK) secretion was enhanced directly by SREBP-2 in cultured cells and in mice fed chow supplemented with lovastatin and ezetimibe (L/E) to decrease dietary sterol absorption and increase nuclear activity of SREBP-2. Low-cholesterol diets are naturally composed of high amounts of plant matter that is likely to contain dietary toxins, and CCK is known to improve dietary absorption of fats, slow gastric emptying, and decrease food intake. Thus, these studies suggest that SREBP-2 activation of bitter signaling receptors in the intestine may sensitize the gut to a low-fat diet and to potential accompanying food-borne toxins that make it past the initial aversive response in the mouth.
Project description:Taste receptor cells use multiple signaling pathways to detect chemicals in potential food items. These cells are functionally grouped into different types: Type I cells act as support cells and have glial-like properties; Type II cells detect bitter, sweet, and umami taste stimuli; and Type III cells detect sour and salty stimuli. We have identified a new population of taste cells that are broadly tuned to multiple taste stimuli including bitter, sweet, sour, and umami. The goal of this study was to characterize these broadly responsive (BR) taste cells. We used an IP3R3-KO mouse (does not release calcium (Ca2+) from internal stores in Type II cells when stimulated with bitter, sweet, or umami stimuli) to characterize the BR cells without any potentially confounding input from Type II cells. Using live cell Ca2+ imaging in isolated taste cells from the IP3R3-KO mouse, we found that BR cells are a subset of Type III cells that respond to sour stimuli but also use a PLC? signaling pathway to respond to bitter, sweet, and umami stimuli. Unlike Type II cells, individual BR cells are broadly tuned and respond to multiple stimuli across different taste modalities. Live cell imaging in a PLC?3-KO mouse confirmed that BR cells use this signaling pathway to respond to bitter, sweet, and umami stimuli. Short term behavioral assays revealed that BR cells make significant contributions to taste driven behaviors and found that loss of either PLC?3 in BR cells or IP3R3 in Type II cells caused similar behavioral deficits to bitter, sweet, and umami stimuli. Analysis of c-Fos activity in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) also demonstrated that functional Type II and BR cells are required for normal stimulus induced expression.
Project description:Bitter taste has been extensively studied in mammalian species and is associated with sensitivity to toxins and with food choices that avoid dangerous substances in the diet. At the molecular level, bitter compounds are sensed by bitter taste receptor proteins (T2R) present at the surface of taste receptor cells in the gustatory papillae. Our work aims at exploring the phylogenetic relationships of T2R gene sequences within different ruminant species. To accomplish this goal, we gathered a collection of ruminant species with different feeding behaviors and for which no genome data is available: American bison, chamois, elk, European bison, fallow deer, goat, moose, mouflon, muskox, red deer, reindeer and white tailed deer. The herbivores chosen for this study belong to different taxonomic families and habitats, and hence, exhibit distinct foraging behaviors and diet preferences. We describe the first partial repertoires of T2R gene sequences for these species obtained by direct sequencing. We then consider the homology and evolutionary history of these receptors within this ruminant group, and whether it relates to feeding type classification, using MEGA software. Our results suggest that phylogenetic proximity of T2R genes corresponds more to the traditional taxonomic groups of the species rather than reflecting a categorization by feeding strategy.