Sweet and umami tastes are perceived by T1r taste receptors in oral cavity. T1rs are class C G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and the extracellular ligand binding domains (LBDs) of T1r1/T1r3 and T1r2/T1r3 heterodimers are responsible for binding of chemical substances eliciting umami or sweet taste. However, molecular analyses of T1r have been hampered due to the difficulties in recombinant expression and protein purification, and thus little is known about mechanisms for taste perception. Here we show the first molecular view of reception of a taste substance by a taste receptor, where the binding of the taste substance elicits a different conformational state of T1r2/T1r3 LBD heterodimer. Electron microscopy has showed a characteristic dimeric structure. Förster resonance energy transfer and X-ray solution scattering have revealed the transition of the dimerization manner of the ligand binding domains, from a widely spread to compactly organized state upon taste substance binding, which may correspond to distinct receptor functional states.
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