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Student Project | Biochemistry | India | Volume 12 Issue 10, October 2023
An Evolutionary Review on the Substrate Specificity of the Gustatory Receptors
Noor Srivastava | Arianna Broad
Abstract: Gustatory receptors are vital for discerning tastes, such as sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami, playing a fundamental role in determining the nutritional value or potential harm of substances. In humans, taste receptor cells (TRCs) are predominantly located on the tongue and upper digestive tract, while in adult fruit flies (Drosophila), taste sensors are distributed across appendages like the proboscis, legs, wings, and ovipositor, with varying receptor types. For humans, T1R2+3 receptors respond to various sugars due to their importance as a calorie source. In contrast, fruit flies employ multiple receptors like Gr61a, Gr64a, Gr64a-f, and Gr43a to detect sugars, necessitating specific receptor combinations for substrate specificity. Bitter taste receptors (T2R) in humans not only identify bitter compounds but also trigger protective mechanisms. In fruit flies, receptors like Gr66a and Gr93a work collectively to detect bitter compounds. Fruit flies rely on gustatory receptors on their appendages to sample potential food, compensating for their limited visual discrimination abilities, necessitating numerous receptors for effective communication with their brains. Conversely, humans rely on advanced sensory cues and higher intelligence to assess food safety, requiring fewer receptors. This underlines the contrast in gustatory receptor strategies between these species. Understanding the evolutionary relationships and implications of gustatory receptors is crucial. Analyzing the divergent and convergent evolution of these receptors provides insights into the adaptive mechanisms that have shaped the complex interplay between taste perception and survival strategies across different species. By studying these relationships, we can unravel the underlying genetic, functional, and ecological factors that have influenced the development of gustatory receptors over time. Such research is imperative for comprehending the fundamental principles of sensory evolution and its broader implications for ecological adaptation and species survival.
Keywords: Gustatory receptors, taste receptors, humans, fruit flies, evolution
Edition: Volume 12 Issue 10, October 2023,
Pages: 1322 - 1327