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

YongTaek Jeong, Jaewon Shim, SoRa Oh, HongIn Yoon, ChulHoon Kim, SeokJun Moon, Craig Montell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)725-737
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 21 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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