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Bitter taste TAS2R14 activation by intracellular tastants and cholesterol

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Abstract

Bitter taste receptors, particularly TAS2R14, play central roles in discerning a wide array of bitter substances, ranging from dietary components to pharmaceutical agents1,2. TAS2R14 is also widely expressed in extra-gustatory tissues, suggesting its additional roles in diverse physiological processes and potential therapeutic applications3. Here, we present cryo-electron microcopy structures of TAS2R14 in complex with aristolochic acid, flufenamic acid and compound 28.1, coupling with different G protein subtypes. Uniquely, a cholesterol molecule is observed occupying what is typically an orthosteric site in class A GPCRs. The three potent agonists bind, individually, to the intracellular pockets, suggesting a distinct activation mechanism for this receptor. Comprehensive structural analysis, combined with mutagenesis, and molecular dynamic simulations studies, illuminate the receptor’s broad-spectrum ligand recognition and activation via intricate multiple ligand-binding sites. Additionally, our study uncovers the specific coupling modes of TAS2R14 with gustducin and Gi1 proteins. These findings should be instrumental in advancing our knowledge underlying bitter taste perception and its broader implications in sensory biology and drug discovery.

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Correspondence to Chi Yang, Jinpeng Sun, Tian Hua or Zhi-Jie Liu.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains Supplementary Tables 1-4 and Supplementary Figure 1.

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Video 1

The 3D variability movies prepared from cryo-EM data of FFA-TAS2R14-Gi1 to illustrate the multiple conformation features of TM6.

Supplementary Video 2

The MD simulated movie shows the unwinding process of TM6’s cytosolic end when AA was virtually depleted from the receptor.

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Hu, X., Ao, W., Gao, M. et al. Bitter taste TAS2R14 activation by intracellular tastants and cholesterol. Nature (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-024-07569-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-024-07569-9

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