Activation Profile of TAS2R2, the 26th Human Bitter Taste Receptor

Tatjana Lang, Antonella Di Pizio, Davide Risso, Dennis Drayna, Maik Behrens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Scope: To avoid ingestion of potentially harmful substances, humans are equipped with about 25 bitter taste receptor genes (TAS2R) expressed in oral taste cells. Humans exhibit considerable variance in their bitter tasting abilities, which are associated with genetic polymorphisms in bitter taste receptor genes. One of these variant receptor genes, TAS2R2, is initially believed to represent a pseudogene. However, TAS2R2 exists in a putative functional variant within some populations and can therefore be considered as an additional functional bitter taste receptor. Methods and results: To learn more about the function of the experimentally neglected TAS2R2, a functional screening with 122 bitter compounds is performed. The study observes responses with eight of the 122 bitter substances and identifies the substance phenylbutazone as a unique activator of TAS2R2 among the family of TAS2Rs, thus filling one more gap in the array of cognate bitter substances. Conclusions: The comprehensive characterization of the receptive range of TAS2R2 allows the classification into the group of TAS2Rs with a medium number of bitter agonists. The variability of bitter taste and its potential influences on food choice in some human populations may be even higher than assumed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2200775
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • G protein-coupled receptor
  • bitter taste receptor
  • calcium-mobilization assay
  • functional screening
  • genetic variant


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