Broad tuning of the human bitter taste receptor hTAS2R46 to various sesquiterpene lactones, clerodane and labdane diterpenoids, strychnine, and denatonium

J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Jul 25;55(15):6236-43. doi: 10.1021/jf070503p. Epub 2007 Jun 27.


Sesquiterpene lactones are a major class of natural bitter compounds occurring in vegetables and culinary herbs as well as in aromatic and medicinal plants, where they often represent the main gustatory and pharmacologically active component. Investigations on sesquiterpene lactones have mainly focused on their bioactive potential rather than on their sensory properties. In the present study, we report about the stimulation of heterologously expressed human bitter taste receptors, hTAS2Rs, by the bitter sesquiterpene lactone herbolide D. A specific response to herbolide D was observed i.a. for hTAS2R46, a so far orphan bitter taste receptor without any known ligand. By further investigation of its agonist pattern, we characterized hTAS2R46 as a bitter receptor broadly tuned to sesquiterpene lactones and to clerodane and labdane diterpenoids as well as to the unrelated bitter substances strychnine and denatonium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Diterpenes, Clerodane / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lactones / pharmacology
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / drug effects*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Strychnine / pharmacology*


  • Diterpenes
  • Diterpenes, Clerodane
  • Lactones
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • labdane
  • taste receptors, type 2
  • denatonium benzoate
  • Strychnine