Background: Sweet taste receptor is expressed in the taste buds and enteroendocrine cells acting as a sugar sensor. We investigated the expression and function of the sweet taste receptor in MIN6 cells and mouse islets.
Methodology/principal findings: The expression of the sweet taste receptor was determined by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Changes in cytoplasmic Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+)](c)) and cAMP ([cAMP](c)) were monitored in MIN6 cells using fura-2 and Epac1-camps. Activation of protein kinase C was monitored by measuring translocation of MARCKS-GFP. Insulin was measured by radioimmunoassay. mRNA for T1R2, T1R3, and gustducin was expressed in MIN6 cells. In these cells, artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, succharin, and acesulfame-K increased insulin secretion and augmented secretion induced by glucose. Sucralose increased biphasic increase in [Ca(2+)](c). The second sustained phase was blocked by removal of extracellular calcium and addition of nifedipine. An inhibitor of inositol(1, 4, 5)-trisphophate receptor, 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate, blocked both phases of [Ca(2+)](c) response. The effect of sucralose on [Ca(2+)](c) was inhibited by gurmarin, an inhibitor of the sweet taste receptor, but not affected by a G(q) inhibitor. Sucralose also induced sustained elevation of [cAMP](c), which was only partially inhibited by removal of extracellular calcium and nifedipine. Finally, mouse islets expressed T1R2 and T1R3, and artificial sweeteners stimulated insulin secretion.
Conclusions: Sweet taste receptor is expressed in beta-cells, and activation of this receptor induces insulin secretion by Ca(2+) and cAMP-dependent mechanisms.