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Cell Signaling Mechanisms of Gustatory Perception of Lipids: Can the Taste Cells be the Target of Anti-obesity Agents?

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It has been well propounded that there exists five basic taste modalities, e.g., sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. Recent compelling evidence from rodents and human beings raises the possibility for an additional sixth taste modality devoted to the perception of lipids. A number of studies have suggested that lingual CD36, a glycoprotein, mainly expressed by circumvallate papillae of the tongue, might be implicated in the perception of dietary fat taste. G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are important signaling molecules for many aspects of cellular function. It has been recently shown that these receptors particularly GPR40 and GPR120 might also be involved in lipid taste perception. In this article, we highlight the cell activation mechanisms, responsible for the downstream cell signaling which might help understand the lipid-mediated regulation of feeding behavior, critically involved in the development of several diseases like obesity and other metabolic disorders. We also raise the question whether lipid gustatory cells can be the target of anti-obesity strategies.

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Keywords: CD36; GPR120; GPR40; Lipids; fat; fatty acids; linoleic acid; metabolic disorder; obesity; taste receptor cells

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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