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High maltose sensitivity of sweet taste receptors in the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata)
Emiko Nishi, Kei Tsutsui & Hiroo Imai

Taste sensitivity differs among animal species depending on feeding habitat. To humans, sucrose is one of the sweetest natural sugars, and this trait is expected to be similar in other primates. However, previous behavioral tests have shown that some primate species have equal preferences for maltose and sucrose. Because sweet tastes are recognized when compounds bind to the sweet taste receptor Tas1R2/Tas1R3, we evaluated the responses of human and Japanese macaque Tas1R2/Tas1R3 to various natural sugars using a heterologous expression system. Human Tas1R2/Tas1R3 showed high sensitivity to sucrose, as expected; however, Japanese macaque Tas1R2/Tas1R3 showed equally high sensitivity to maltose and sucrose. Furthermore, Japanese macaques showed equally high sensitivity to sucrose and maltose in a two-bottle behavioral experiment. These results indicate that Japanese macaques have high sensitivity to maltose, and this sensitivity is directly related to Tas1R2/Tas1R3 function. This is the first molecular biological evidence that for some primate species, sucrose is not the most preferable natural sugar, as it is for humans.

Bibliographic information

Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 39352 (2016)
URL http://www.nature.com/articles/srep39352
2016/12/19 Primate Research Institute