T1R2-mediated sweet sensing in a lizard

Qiaoyi Liang, Meng Ching Ko, Nathaniel S.R. Ng, Borja Reh, Jessica G.H. Lee, Atsuko Yamashita, Hidenori Nishihara, Yasuka Toda, Maude W. Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sugars are an important class of nutrients found in the flowers and fruits of angiosperms (flowering plants). Although T1R2–T1R3 has been identified as the mammalian sweet receptor, some birds rely on a repurposed T1R1–T1R3 savory receptor to sense sugars. Moreover, as the radiation of flowering plants occurred later than the last common ancestor of amniotes, sugar may not have been an important diet item for amniotes early in evolution, raising the question of whether T1R2–T1R3 is a universal sugar sensor or only a mammalian innovation. Here, using brief-access behavioral tests and functional characterization of taste receptors, we demonstrate that the nectar-taking Madagascar giant day gecko (Phelsuma grandis) can sense sugars through the T1R2–T1R3 receptor. These results reveal the existence of T1R2-based sweet taste in a non-avian reptile, which has important implications for our understanding of the evolutionary history of sugar detection in amniotes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1302-R1303
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 5 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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