Umami taste receptor
Li, Xiaodong Senomyx, Incorporated, San Diego, California.
- Perception of taste
- Experimental findings and modeling
- GPCR modulators
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Umami is one of the five basic taste qualities that humans can detect, along with sweet, bitter, salty, and sour. It was discovered in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda, a professor of chemistry at Tokyo Imperial University, while doing research on the strong flavor in seaweed broth. However, umami has only recently been accepted as a basic taste. Umami in Japanese means roughly “delicious.” It is often used to describe the “meaty” or “savory” flavor common to products such as seafood, meat, cheese, and mushrooms. The primary umami tastant (any chemical that stimulates the sensory cells in a taste bud) is l-glutamate, which is a naturally occurring amino acid found in abundance in protein-rich foods. A secondary umami tastant is the structurally similar amino acid, aspartate. The most unique characteristic of umami taste is the synergy between glutamate and purinic ribonucleotides such as inosine 5′-monophosphate (IMP). IMP is an “enhancer” of umami taste; that is, it does not taste as umami at submillimolar concentration, but can strongly potentiate the umami taste of glutamate. Recent progress in the molecular biology of the umami taste receptor has revealed the molecular mechanism of the synergy between the two umami ligands (that is, molecules with an affinity to bind to the umami receptor). This novel mechanism provides new insights into allosteric modulation (in which modulators bind to regulatory sites distinct from the active site on the enzyme or protein, resulting in conformational changes that may profoundly influence enzyme or protein function) of G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs). [G proteins are guanosine 5′-triphosphate (GTP)–binding proteins. The GPCRs are cell surface receptors that, when activated by the binding of a ligand, in turn activate a cytosolic G protein molecule, initiating a cascade of reactions effecting the intracellular response to the extracellular signal (the ligand).]
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information