Molecular mechanisms for sweet-suppressing effect of gymnemic acids

Keisuke Sanematsu, Yuko Kusakabe, Noriatsu Shigemura, Takatsugu Hirokawa, Seiji Nakamura, Toshiaki Imoto, Yuzo Ninomiya

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Gymnemic acids are triterpene glycosides that selectively suppress taste responses to various sweet substances in humans but not in mice. This sweet-suppressing effect of gymnemic acids is diminished by rinsing the tongue with γ-cyclodextrin (γ-CD). However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying the sweet-suppressing effect of gymnemic acids and the interaction between gymnemic acids versus sweet taste receptor and/or γ-CD. To investigate whether gymnemic acids directly interact with human (h) sweet receptor hT1R2 + hT1R3, we used the sweet receptor T1R2 + T1R3 assay in transiently transfected HEK293 cells. Similar to previous studies in humans and mice, gymnemic acids (100 μg/ml) inhibited the [Ca2+]iresponses to sweet compounds in HEK293 cells heterologously expressing hT1R2 + hT1R3 but not in those expressing the mouse (m) sweet receptor mT1R2 + mT1R3. The effect of gymnemic acids rapidly disappeared after rinsing the HEK293 cells with γ-CD. Using mixed species pairings of human and mouse sweet receptor subunits and chimeras, we determined that the transmembrane domain of hT1R3 was mainly required for the sweet-suppressing effect of gymnemic acids. Directed mutagenesis in the transmembrane domain of hT1R3 revealed that the interaction site for gymnemic acids shared the amino acid residues that determined the sensitivity to another sweet antagonist, lactisole. Glucuronic acid, which is the common structure of gymnemic acids, also reduced sensitivity to sweet compounds. In our models, gymnemic acids were predicted to dock to a binding pocket within the transmembrane domain of hT1R3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25711-25720
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - Sept 12 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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