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Beef peptides block human bitter taste T2R4 receptor


University of Manitoba, Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, Canada


Bitter taste perception usually leads to a negative reaction to foods, hence the need for compounds that could suppress or reduce bitterness intensity. The T2R4 is one of the main bitter taste receptors in humans and compounds that act as an antagonist may provide relief from bitter sensation during oral consumption. In order to develop new peptide-based bitter taste blockers, the enzymatic digests of beef proteins were tested for ability to suppress quinine-dependent activation of T2R4 using a cell culture technique. The active protein hydrolysates were fractionated by reverse-phase HPLC and 8 peptide sequences identified using tandem mass spectrometry. These peptide sequences were evaluated for T2R4 blocking effect with AAMY, ETSARHL, and AGDDAPRAVF being the most active. 

Taste perception is one of the fundamental attributes of the human oral cavity that determines not only food choice but acceptability or otherwise of certain food products. Humans can sense 5 different tastes that include salt, sour, umami, sweet and bitter. The G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are responsible for umami, sweet and bitter taste perception while ion channels enable sensing of sour and salt tastes (1). Of the 5 taste sensations, bitterness is particularly very important because humans are generally averse to bitter foods, not only because of the unpleasantness but the belief that such foods may contain poisonous compounds. Therefore, with few exceptions, humans (especially children) will generally avoid consumption of bitter-tasting foods, which limits development of novel food products. This is more important in the functional foods industry where formulation of health-promoting food products utilize bitter ingredients such as polyphenols and peptides. Thus, food formulation with bitter ingredients usually involve the use of masking agents, mainly sugars to suppress bitterness intensity and prevent bitter taste perception by the consumer. However, current issue ...

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