Candidate Taste Receptors in Drosophila

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Science  10 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5459, pp. 1830-1834
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5459.1830

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Little is known about the molecular mechanisms of taste perception in animals, particularly the initial events of taste signaling. A large and diverse family of seven transmembrane domain proteins was identified from the Drosophila genome database with a computer algorithm that identifies proteins on the basis of structure. Eighteen of 19 genes examined were expressed in theDrosophila labellum, a gustatory organ of the proboscis. Expression was not detected in a variety of other tissues. The genes were not expressed in the labellum of a Drosophila mutant,pox-neuro70 , in which taste neurons are eliminated. Tissue specificity of expression of these genes, along with their structural similarity, supports the possibility that the family encodes a large and divergent family of taste receptors.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Present address: Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California at San Francisco, Parnassus Avenue, Box 0448, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: john.carlson{at}

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