T1R2 and T1R3 subunits are individually unnecessary for normal affective licking responses to Polycose: implications for saccharide taste receptors in mice

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009 Apr;296(4):R855-65. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.90869.2008. Epub 2009 Jan 21.


The T1R2 and T1R3 proteins are expressed in taste receptor cells and form a heterodimer binding with compounds described as sweet by humans. We examined whether Polycose taste might be mediated through this heterodimer by testing T1R2 knockout (KO) and T1R3 KO mice and their wild-type (WT) littermate controls in a series of brief-access taste tests (25-min sessions with 5-s trials). Sucrose, Na-saccharin, and Polycose were each tested for three consecutive sessions with order of presentation varied among subgroups in a Latin-Square manner. Both KO groups displayed blunted licking responses and initiated significantly fewer trials of sucrose and Na-saccharin across a range of concentrations. KO mice tested after Polycose exposure demonstrated some degree of concentration-dependent licking of sucrose, likely attributable to learning related to prior postingestive experience. These results are consistent with prior findings in the literature, implicating the T1R2+3 heterodimer as the principal taste receptor for sweet-tasting ligands, and also provide support for the potential of postingestive experience to influence responding in the KO mice. In contrast, T1R2 KO and T1R3 KO mice displayed concentration-dependent licking responses to Polycose that tracked those of their WT controls and in some cases licked midrange concentrations more; the number of Polycose trials initiated overall did not differ between KO and WT mice. Thus, the T1R2 and T1R3 proteins are individually unnecessary for normal concentration-dependent licking of Polycose to be expressed in a brief-access test. Whether at least one of these T1R protein subunits is necessary for normal Polycose responsiveness remains untested. Alternatively, there may be a novel taste receptor(s) that mediates polysaccharide taste.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Feeding Behavior* / drug effects
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Glucans / administration & dosage
  • Glucans / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / deficiency
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Saccharin / pharmacology
  • Sex Factors
  • Sucrose / metabolism
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology
  • Taste* / drug effects
  • Tongue / drug effects
  • Tongue / metabolism*


  • Glucans
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Sweetening Agents
  • taste receptors, type 1
  • Sucrose
  • Saccharin