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ABSTRACT: Sweet and bitter taste sensations are believed to be initiated by the tastant-stimulated T1R and T2R G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) subfamilies, respectively, which occur in taste cells. Although such tastants, with their significantly diverse chemical structures (e.g., sugar and nonsugar sweeteners), may share the same or similar T1Rs, some nonsugar sweeteners and many bitter tastants are amphipathic and produce a significant delay in taste termination (lingering aftertaste). We report that such tastants may permeate rat taste bud cells rapidly in vivo and inhibit known signal termination-related kinases in vitro, such as GPCR kinase (GRK)2, GRK5, and PKA. GRK5 and perhaps GRK2 and GRK6 are present in taste cells. A new hypothesis is proposed in which membrane-permeant tastants not only interact with taste GPCRs but also interact intracellularly with the receptors' downstream shutoff components to inhibit signal termination.
AJP Cell Physiology 09/2005; 289(2):C483-92. · 3.71 Impact Factor