Sensory transduction for many taste stimuli such as sugars, some bitter compounds and amino acids is thought to be mediated via G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), although no such receptors that respond to taste stimuli are yet identified. Monosodium L-glutamate (L-MSG), a natural component of many foods, is an important gustatory stimulus believed to signal dietary protein. We describe a GPCR cloned from rat taste buds and functionally expressed in CHO cells. The receptor couples negatively to a cAMP cascade and shows an unusual concentration-response relationship. The similarity of its properties to MSG taste suggests that this receptor is a taste receptor for glutamate.
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