Taste receptors function as one of the interfaces between internal and external milieus. Taste receptors for sweet and umami
(T1R [taste receptor, type 1]), bitter (T2R [taste receptor, type 2]), and salty (ENaC [epithelial sodium channel]) have been discovered in
the recent years, but transduction mechanisms of sour taste and ENaC-independent salt taste are still poorly understood. In addition to
these five main taste qualities, the taste system detects such noncanonical “tastes” as water, fat, and complex carbohydrates, but their reception
mechanisms require further research. Variations in taste receptor genes between and within vertebrate species contribute to individual
and species differences in taste-related behaviors. These variations are shaped by evolutionary forces and reflect species adaptations
to their chemical environments and feeding ecology. Principles of drug discovery can be applied to taste receptors as targets in order
to develop novel taste compounds to satisfy demand in better artificial sweeteners, enhancers of sugar and sodium taste, and blockers of
bitterness of food ingredients and oral medications.
Keywords: Gustatory, sweet, bitter, umami, salty, sour, receptor, gene.
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