Allelic variation of the Tas1r3 taste receptor gene selectively affects taste responses to sweeteners: evidence from 129.B6-Tas1r3 congenic mice

Physiol Genomics. 2007 Dec 19;32(1):82-94. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00161.2007. Epub 2007 Oct 2.


The Tas1r3 gene encodes the T1R3 receptor protein, which is involved in sweet taste transduction. To characterize ligand specificity of the T1R3 receptor and the genetic architecture of sweet taste responsiveness, we analyzed taste responses of 129.B6-Tas1r3 congenic mice to a variety of chemically diverse sweeteners and glucose polymers with three different measures: consumption in 48-h two-bottle preference tests, initial licking responses, and responses of the chorda tympani nerve. The results were generally consistent across the three measures. Allelic variation of the Tas1r3 gene influenced taste responsiveness to nonnutritive sweeteners (saccharin, acesulfame-K, sucralose, SC-45647), sugars (sucrose, maltose, glucose, fructose), sugar alcohols (erythritol, sorbitol), and some amino acids (D-tryptophan, D-phenylalanine, L-proline). Tas1r3 genotype did not affect taste responses to several sweet-tasting amino acids (L-glutamine, L-threonine, L-alanine, glycine), glucose polymers (Polycose, maltooligosaccharide), and nonsweet NaCl, HCl, quinine, monosodium glutamate, and inosine 5'-monophosphate. Thus Tas1r3 polymorphisms affect taste responses to many nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners (all of which must interact with a taste receptor involving T1R3), but not to all carbohydrates and amino acids. In addition, we found that the genetic architecture of sweet taste responsiveness changes depending on the measure of taste response and the intensity of the sweet taste stimulus. Variation in the T1R3 receptor influenced peripheral taste responsiveness over a wide range of sweetener concentrations, but behavioral responses to higher concentrations of some sweeteners increasingly depended on mechanisms that could override input from the peripheral taste system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Food Preferences / physiology
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotype
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics*
  • Taste / genetics
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3 / genetics*


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • TLR3 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3