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Transduction of bitter and sweet taste by gustducin.

Several lines of evidence suggest that both sweet and bitter tastes are transduced via receptors coupled to heterotrimeric guanine-nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins). Gustducin is a taste receptor cell (TRC)-specific G protein that is closely related to the transducins. Gustducin and rod transducin, which is also expressed in TRCs, have been proposed to couple bitter-responsive receptors to TRC-specific phosphodiesterases to regulate intracellular cyclic nucleotides. Here we investigate gustducin's role in taste transduction by generating and characterizing mice deficient in the gustducin alpha-subunit (alpha-gustducin). As predicted, the mutant mice showed reduced behavioural and electrophysiological responses to bitter compounds, whereas they were indistinguishable from wild-type controls in their responses to salty and sour stimuli. Unexpectedly, mutant mice also exhibited reduced behavioural and electrophysiological responses to sweet compounds. Our results suggest that gustducin is a principal mediator of both bitter and sweet signal transduction.

Pubmed ID: 8657284


  • Wong GT
  • Gannon KS
  • Margolskee RF



Publication Data

June 27, 1996

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Facial Nerve
  • Female
  • Guanidines
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mutagenesis
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Quinine
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sucrose
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Taste
  • Taste Buds
  • Transducin