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:4/6/2017)... , April 6, 2017 ... RFID, ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, ... Facility, Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), ... Educational, Other) Are you looking for a ... sector? ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... YORK , April 4, 2017   EyeLock ... today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark ... patent broadly covers the linking of an iris image ... same transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th ... latest patent is very timely given the multi-modal biometric ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... NEW YORK , March 30, 2017 ... by type (physiological and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, ... recognition, voice recognition, and others), by end use industry ... travel and immigration, financial and banking, and others), and ... Europe , Asia Pacific ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... The CRISPR-Cas9 system ... experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression plasmids. The simplicity of programming ... systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to loss-of-function studies, such as with ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its ... 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office ... directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues in device ...
(Date:10/11/2017)...  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient support solutions, ... Educator (CNE) network, which will launch this week. The VMS ... care professionals to enhance the patient care experience by delivering ... health care professionals to help women who have been diagnosed ... ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests ... the lives of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in larger ... startup Treepex - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided ...
Breaking Biology Technology: