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Roura E.,R D Division Lucta SA Montornes del Valles | Humphrey B.,Polytechnic University of Mozambique | Humphrey B.,University of Queensland | Klasing K.,University of California at Davis | Swart M.,University of Girona
Flavour and Fragrance Journal | Year: 2011

The diversity of taste perception across species reflects a dietary adaptation to different ecological niches. Laboratory rodents have been widely used as models for human nutritional studies including the understanding of peripheral chemosensing. Nevertheless the diet type as well as the anatomical and functional features of bigger mammals such as the pig may merit further consideration as models for humans. Recently, the porcine umami taste receptor pTas1r1/pTas1r3 and porcine mGluR4 gene sequences have become available. The aim of this study was to compare the umami sensing biology with emphasis in T1R1 sequences, Venus flytrap (VFT) ligand binding domains and l-amino acid agonists of several mammalian species including human, pig and laboratory rodents. Compared to their corresponding human gene orthologues, receptor homologies where highest for the dog (T1r1 and T1r3) and the pig (mGluR4) and lowest for the mouse (T1r1, T1r3 and mGluR4). Th human T1R1 VFT domain contains 10 different amino acid residues critically involved in ligand binding. All 10 amino acid residues are conserved, both in terms of type and location, within the pig VFT domain. In turn, the arginine and histidine (both charged polar) residues at key positions 307 and 308 appear as threonine and tyrosine (both neutral polar) residues in mouse and rat sequences. Comparison of derived molecular models seems to offer a good explanation regarding the differences of in vivo preference data for l-amino acids in rats, pigs and humans. Overall, the umami sensing in pigs show higher similarity to that in humans than the umami sensing in laboratory rodents. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd..

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