Bitter taste perception is mediated by a family of G protein-coupled receptors (T2Rs) in vertebrates. Common carp (Cyprinus carpio), which has experienced an additional round of whole genome duplication during the course of evolution, has a small number of T2R genes similar to zebrafish, a closely related cyprinid fish species, and their expression pattern at the cellular level or their cognate ligands have not been elucidated yet. Here, we showed through in situ hybridization experiments, that three common carp T2R (ccT2R) genes encoding ccT2R200-1, ccT2R202-1, and ccT2R202-2, were specifically expressed in the subsets of taste receptor cells in the lips and gill rakers. ccT2R200-1 was co-expressed with genes encoding downstream signal transduction molecules, such as PLC-β2 and Gαia. Heterologous expression system revealed that each ccT2R showed narrowly, intermediately, or broadly tuned ligand specificity, as in the case of zebrafish T2Rs. However, ccT2Rs showed different ligand profiles from their orthologous zebrafish T2Rs previously reported. Finally, we identified three ccT2Rs, namely ccT2R200-1, ccT2R200-2, and ccT2R203-1, to be activated by natural bitter compounds, andrographolide and/or picrotoxinin, which elicited no response to zebrafish T2Rs, in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that some ccT2Rs may have evolved to function in the oral cavity as taste receptors for natural bitter compounds found in the habitats in a species-specific manner.
Keywords: AUC, area under the curve; Bitter; Heterologous expression system; ISH, in situ hybridization; In situ hybridization; PLC-β2, phospholipase C-β2; RLU, relative light units; TRC, taste receptor cell; Taste receptor; WGD, whole genome duplication; ccT2R, common carp T2R.
© 2021 The Authors.