The sense of taste provides animals with valuable information about the quality and nutritional value of food. Previously, we identified a large family of mammalian taste receptors involved in bitter taste perception (the T2Rs). We now report the characterization of mammalian sweet taste receptors. First, transgenic rescue experiments prove that the Sac locus encodes T1R3, a member of the T1R family of candidate taste receptors. Second, using a heterologous expression system, we demonstrate that T1R2 and T1R3 combine to function as a sweet receptor, recognizing sweet-tasting molecules as diverse as sucrose, saccharin, dulcin, and acesulfame-K. Finally, we present a detailed analysis of the patterns of expression of T1Rs and T2Rs, thus providing a view of the representation of sweet and bitter taste at the periphery.
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