Nav: Home

Insects and umami receptors

January 23, 2017

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Insects, like mammals including humans, sort chemicals by taste into a few categories and use this information to decide whether to ingest or reject food.

University of California, Riverside researchers have identified a receptor playing a key role in insect identification of amino acid, or umami, taste.

Amino acid or umami taste is one of the five basic taste categories in humans. There has been some evidence that insects also possess this taste ability, but it was not very well characterized, and the receptor proteins were not known.

The research, led by Anindya Ganguly, a graduate student in Anupama Dahanukar's laboratory, describes cellular and behavioral responses to amino acids in fruit flies, a common genetic model insect, and identifies an amino acid co-receptor, Ir76b. Dahanukar is an associate professor of entomology.

Ir76b is a highly conserved receptor found in all insects. Its role in amino acid taste is helped by additional Ir receptors, which may offer possible targets for identifying compounds that could be used to modify amino acid-stimulated feeding behaviors as part of efforts to control insect populations.

The results were published in a paper, "A molecular and cellular context-dependent role for Ir76b in detection of amino acid taste," that was recently published in the journal Cell Reports.
UC Riverside undergraduate students Vi-Khoi Duong, Angelina Lee, Hanni Schoniger and Erika Varady participated in the project and are co-authors on the paper, in addition to Ganguly and Lisa Pang, who was a postdoctoral researcher in Dahanukar's lab.

University of California - Riverside

Related Amino Acid Articles:

A unique amino acid for brain cancer therapy
Researchers discover potential application of amino acid taurine in photodynamic therapy for brain cancer.
Amino acids in diet could be key to starving cancer
Cutting out certain amino acids - the building blocks of proteins -- from the diet of mice slows tumor growth and prolongs survival, according to new research published in Nature.
Simple fats and amino acids to explain how life began
Life is a process that originated 3.5 billion years ago.
Newly revealed amino acid function could be used to boost antioxidant levels
A Japanese research team has become the first in the world to discover that 2-aminobutyric acid is closely involved in the metabolic regulation of the antioxidant glutathione, and that it can effectively raise levels of glutathione in the body when ingested.
An amino acid controls plants' breath
IBS plant scientists demonstrate that the amino acid L-methionine activates a calcium-channel regulating the opening and closing of tiny plant pores.
Genetic differences in amino acid metabolism are linked to a higher risk of diabetes
A study published today in the journal PLOS Medicine has identified the five genetic variants associated with higher levels of the branched-chain amino acids isoleucine, leucine and valine.
Withholding amino acid depletes blood stem cells, Stanford researchers say
A new study shows that a diet deficient in valine effectively depleted the blood stem cells in mice and made it possible to perform a blood stem cell transplantation on them.
Iron catalysts can modify amino acids, peptides to create new drug candidates
For medicinal chemists, making tweaks to peptide structures is key to developing new drug candidates.
New evidence: How amino acid cysteine combats Huntington's disease
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine report they have identified a biochemical pathway linking oxidative stress and the amino acid cysteine in Huntington's disease.
Amino acid identified associated with poor performance under sleep restriction
The amino acid acetylcarnitine may help predict an individual's neurobehavioral performance during chronic sleep restriction, according to results of a new study (abstract 0251) from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that will be presented at SLEEP 2016, the 30th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

Related Amino Acid Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...