How the Taste Sense Influences Our Eating Behavior and Health: Genetic and Non-genetic Factors

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutrition and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 September 2024 | Viewed by 1372

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, 09124 Monserrato, CA, Italy
Interests: taste perception; PROP tasting; individual differences; taste perception modulation; electrophysiological recordings; taste; body composition; nutrition; health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari, CA, Italy
Interests: taste perception and individual differences; PROP tasting; taste genetics; taste modulation; electrophysiological recordings from human tongue; taste and health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Taste is the sensory modality considered of the most relevant factors that influences nutrition and health. This role is based on data showing that taste varies significantly among individuals, influencing food preferences and therefore eating behavior. Variations of taste sensitivities can be due to sundry factors (e.g., genetics, environment and age), which can thus constitute risk factors for unbalanced eating habits and serious health morbidities. Taste perception plays important roles also in various extra-oral tissues where it mediates diverse physiological functions, the variations of which are associated with several human disorders. For this Special Issue, we invite original research articles and comprehensive reviews that focus on taste perception, eating behavior, their implications in nutrition and health, and the genetic and non-genetic factors involved.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the molecular basis of taste sensitivity; how pathological conditions, medical treatments, aging processes, microbiota, etc., influence taste perception, eating behaviour, or health; physiological factors that impact taste perception, eating behavior and nutrition in humans; the genetic and non-genetic factors involved in taste perception.

Prof. Dr. Iole Tomassini Barbarossa
Dr. Melania Melis
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • taste
  • eating behavior
  • taste preferences
  • genetic variations in taste
  • non-genetic factors involved in taste variability
  • oral processing
  • taste and changes related to physiological functions and human disorders

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 1520 KiB  
Article
Differential Activation of TAS2R4 May Recover Ability to Taste Propylthiouracil for Some TAS2R38 AVI Homozygotes
by Alissa A. Nolden, Maik Behrens, John E. McGeary, Wolfgang Meyerhof and John E. Hayes
Nutrients 2024, 16(9), 1357; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16091357 - 30 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Bitterness from phenylthiocarbamide and 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) varies with polymorphisms in the TAS2R38 gene. Three SNPs form two common (AVI, PAV) and four rare haplotypes (AAI, AAV, PVI, and PAI). AVI homozygotes exhibit higher detection thresholds and lower suprathreshold bitterness for PROP compared to [...] Read more.
Bitterness from phenylthiocarbamide and 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) varies with polymorphisms in the TAS2R38 gene. Three SNPs form two common (AVI, PAV) and four rare haplotypes (AAI, AAV, PVI, and PAI). AVI homozygotes exhibit higher detection thresholds and lower suprathreshold bitterness for PROP compared to PAV homozygotes and heterozygotes, and these differences may influence alcohol and vegetable intake. Within a diplotype, substantial variation in suprathreshold bitterness persists, and some AVI homozygotes report moderate bitterness at high concentrations. A second receptor encoded by a gene containing a functional polymorphism may explain this. Early work has suggested that PROP might activate TAS2R4 in vitro, but later work did not replicate this. Here, we identify three TAS2R4 SNPs that result in three diplotypes—SLN/SLN, FVS/SLN, and FVS/FVS—which make up 25.1%, 44.9%, and 23.9% of our sample. These TAS2R4 haplotypes show minimal linkage disequilibrium with TAS2R38, so we examined the suprathreshold bitterness as a function of both. The participants (n = 243) rated five PROP concentrations in duplicate, interleaved with other stimuli. As expected, the TAS2R38 haplotypes explained ~29% (p < 0.0001) of the variation in the bitterness ratings, with substantial variation within the haplotypes (AVI/AVI, PAV/AVI, and PAV/PAV). Notably, the TAS2R4 diplotypes (independent of the TAS2R38 haplotypes) explained ~7–8% of the variation in the bitterness ratings (p = 0.0001). Given this, we revisited if PROP could activate heterologously expressed TAS2R4 in HEK293T cells, and calcium imaging indicated 3 mM PROP is a weak TAS2R4 agonist. In sum, our data are consistent with the second receptor hypothesis and may explain the recovery of the PROP tasting phenotype in some AVI homozygotes; further, this finding may potentially help explain the conflicting results on the TAS2R38 diplotype and food intake. Full article
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12 pages, 1246 KiB  
Article
Gene Methylation Affects Salivary Levels of the Taste Buds’ Trophic Factor, Gustin Protein
by Melania Melis, Eleonora Loi, Mariano Mastinu, Lala Chaimae Naciri, Patrizia Zavattari and Iole Tomassini Barbarossa
Nutrients 2024, 16(9), 1304; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16091304 - 26 Apr 2024
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Abstract
The salivary protein, Gustin/carbonic anhydrase VI, has been described as a trophic factor responsible for the growth of taste buds. We found, in a genetically homogeneous population, that the polymorphism rs2274333 (A/G) of the Gustin gene is crucial for the full functionality of [...] Read more.
The salivary protein, Gustin/carbonic anhydrase VI, has been described as a trophic factor responsible for the growth of taste buds. We found, in a genetically homogeneous population, that the polymorphism rs2274333 (A/G) of the Gustin gene is crucial for the full functionality of the protein and is associated with taste sensitivity. However, other studies have failed to find this evidence. Here, we verified if Gustin gene methylation can affect the salivary levels of the protein, also concerning the polymorphism rs2274333 and PROP bitter responsiveness. The Gustin gene methylation profiling and the quantification of the Gustin salivary levels were determined in sixty-six volunteers genotyped for the polymorphism rs2274333 (A/G) (Ser90Gly in the protein sequence). The fungiform papillae density was also determined. The results confirm our earlier observations by showing that AA genotypes had a greater density of fungiform taste papillae, whereas the GG genotypes showed a lower density. We also found variations in the protein levels in the three genotype groups and an inverse relationship between Gustin gene methylation and the salivary levels of the protein, mostly evident in AA and ST volunteers, i.e., in volunteers who would be carriers of the functional isoform of the protein. These findings could justify the conflicting data in the literature. Full article
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