Navigation Links
Like sweets? You're more like a fruit fly than you think...
Date:3/17/2008

PHILADELPHIA (March 17, 2008) -- According to researchers at the Monell Center, fruit flies are more like humans in their responses to many sweet tastes than are almost any other species.

The diverse range of molecules that humans experience as sweet do not necessarily taste sweet to other species. For example, aspartame, a sweetener used by humans, does not taste sweet to rats and mice.

However, fruit flies respond positively to most sweeteners preferred by humans, including sweeteners not perceived as sweet by some species of monkeys.

The findings, published in the current issue of the journal Chemical Senses, demonstrate the critical role of environment in shaping the genetic basis of taste preferences and feeding behavior.

Humans and flies have similar taste responses because they share similar environments and ecological niches, not because their sweet receptors are similar genetically, notes senior author Paul A.S. Breslin, PhD, a Monell sensory geneticist. Both are African species, both are omnivorous, and both historically are primarily fruit eaters.

To compare how molecular structure is related to sweet taste perception in humans and flies, the Monell researchers evaluated how fruit flies respond to 21 nutritive and nonnutritive compounds of varying molecular structure, all of which taste sweet to humans.

Breslin and lead author Beth Gordesky-Gold, PhD, used two behavioral tests to evaluate the flies responses to the various sweeteners.

The taste reactivity test measures whether a fly extends its feeding tube, or proboscis, to consume a given sweetener. In addition, a two-choice preference test evaluates the flies responses to a sweetener by measuring whether they consume it in preference to a control solution (usually water).

The Monell researchers found that fruit flies and humans both respond positively to the same broad range of sweet-tasting molecules.

The similarity between human and fly responses to sweeteners is astounding, especially in light of the differences in their taste receptors, notes Gordesky-Gold, a Drosophila (fruit fly) geneticist at Monell.

Sweet receptors belong to a large family of receptors known as G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are involved in biological processes throughout the body. Human and fly sweet taste GPCRs are presumed to have markedly different structures, an assumption that is based on differences in the genes that code for them.

Since substances will only taste sweet if they are able to bind to and activate a receptor, these two structurally different types of sweet receptors must have similar binding regions that fit the same range of molecular shapes.

That genes could be so divergent in sequence and so similar in physiology and function is truly striking, says Breslin. This is a wonderful example of convergent evolution in perceptual behavior, where evolution has taken two different routes to address pressures imposed by shared environment and nutrition.

Future work will be directed towards modeling how these two structurally different sweet receptors could have highly overlapping sweetener affinities. Such knowledge will increase understanding of how molecules bind to GPCRs, which are targets for many pharmaceutical drugs.


'/>"/>

Contact: Leslie Stein
stein@monell.org
267-519-4707
Monell Chemical Senses Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers find new taste in fruit flies: carbonated water
2. Sugary drinks, not fruit juice, may be linked to insulin
3. NIH awards researcher $1.5 million new innovator grant for fruit-fly studies of prion proteins
4. The reservoir of Marburg virus identified in a species of fruit bat
5. Chemical in red wine, fruits and vegetables stops cancer, heart disease, depending on the dose
6. Ripe fruit preferred
7. International team compares 12 fruit fly genomes
8. Genome comparison of 12 fruit fly species
9. Tiny pest-eating insect fights fruit flies
10. Kids eat more fruits, vegetables when schools offer salad bar
11. The precise role of seminal proteins in sustaining post-mating responses in fruit flies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/15/2016)... , June 15, 2016 ... report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry ... - 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture ... in 2015 and is estimated to grow at ... billion by 2024.  Increasing application of ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 The Department ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for the ... Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , ... in the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous ... however Decatur was selected for the ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... -- VoiceIt is excited to announce its new marketing ... working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer an ... slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration between ... Both companies ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows VoiceIt ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software ... State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , ... Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced ... of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials ... dose studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, ... in healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects ... single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Andrew D Zelenetz ... Published recently in Oncology ... touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz , discusses the ... is placing an increasing burden on healthcare systems ... With the patents on many biologics expiring, interest ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... software, is exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s ... conference. ClinCapture will also be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials ...
Breaking Biology Technology: