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Computational studies of ligand-receptor interactions in bitter taste receptors.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of receptor and signal transduction research
Publication Date
Volume
26
Issue
5-6
Pages
611–630
Identifiers
PMID: 17118801
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Phenylthiocarbamide tastes intensely bitter to some individuals, but others find it completely tasteless. Recently, it was suggested that phenylthiocarbamide elicits bitter taste by interacting with a human G protein-coupled receptor (hTAS2R38) encoded by the PTC gene. The phenylthiocarbamide nontaster trait was linked to three single nucleotide polymorphisms occurring in the PTC gene. Using the crystal structure of bovine rhodopsin as template, we generated the 3D structure of hTAS2R38 bitter taste receptor. We were able to map on the receptor structure the amino acids affected by the genetic polymorphisms and to propose molecular functions for two of them that explained the emergence of the nontaster trait. We used molecular docking simulations to find that phenylthiocarbamide exhibited a higher affinity for the target receptor than the structurally similar molecule 6-n-propylthiouracil, in line with recent experimental studies. A 3D model was constructed for the hTAS2R16 bitter taste receptor as well, by applying the same protocol. We found that the recently published experimental ligand binding affinity data for this receptor correlated well with the binding scores obtained from our molecular docking calculations.

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