Sensory Perception

Leaving a Bitter Taste

Science's STKE  27 Feb 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 71, pp. tw10
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.71.tw10

A large family of bitter taste receptors has recently been characterized and cloned. The expression of multiple messenger RNAs of members of this family in individual cells leads to the speculation that there is only one general bitter taste and that single gustatory cells respond broadly to bitter compounds. However, Caicedo and Roper show that, in the majority of cases, individual taste cells can discriminate among different bitter stimuli. These results are in agreement with earlier psychophysical data and the results from taste-nerve recording, and indicate that there is much heterogeneity even within one subpopulation of sensory cells.

A. Caicedo, S. D. Roper, Taste receptor cells that discriminate between bitter stimuli. Science 291, 1557-1560 (2001). [Abstract] [Full Text]