Can We Taste Fats?

Researchers are close to finding a receptor directly triggered by fatty acids.

Dec 1, 2011
Beverly J. Tepper and Kathleen L. Keller

Infographic: Can We Taste Fats?
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LUCY READING-IKKANDA

Although gustin and TAS2R38 contribute to the supertaster phenotype and may contribute to the perception of fat texture, researchers are still looking for a receptor directly triggered by fat. One promising candidate is the protein CD36, which binds long-chain fatty acids in mice, and is expressed on taste buds.  The mechanism by which the CD36 carrier protein initiates a neural signal is poorly understood.  CD36 may serve as a carrier protein that transfers the fatty acid to another receptor or it may activate an ion channel that alters the excitability of taste cells.

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