An odorant-binding protein required for suppression of sweet taste by bitter chemicals

Yong Taek Jeong, Jaewon Shim, So Ra Oh, Hong In Yoon, Chul Hoon Kim, Seok Jun Moon, Craig Montell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


Animals often must decide whether or not to consume a diet that contains competing attractive and aversive compounds. Here, using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, we describe a mechanism that influences this decision. Addition of bitter compounds to sucrose suppressed feeding behavior, and this inhibition depended on an odorant-binding protein (OBP) termed OBP49a. In wild-type flies, bitter compounds suppressed sucrose-induced action potentials, and the inhibition was impaired in Obp49a mutants. However, loss of OBP49a did not affect action potentials in sugar- or bitter-activated gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs) when the GRNs were presented with just one type of tastant. OBP49a was expressed in accessory cells and acted non-cell-autonomously to attenuate nerve firings in sugar-activated GRNs when bitter compounds were combined with sucrose. These findings demonstrate an unexpected role for an OBP in taste andidentify a molecular player involved in the integration of opposing attractive and aversive gustatory inputs

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-737
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug 21
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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