Perinatal administration of a bitter tastant influences gene expression in chicken palate and duodenum

Shira L. Cheled-Shoval, Maik Behrens, Wolfgang Meyerhof, Masha Y. Niv, Zehava Uni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Bitter taste receptors (Tas2rs) and downstream effectors are responsible for mediating bitterness perception and regulation of food choice in mammals. Using RT-PCR, we demonstrated the expression of three Tas2rs and taste signal transduction molecules, α-gustducin, PLCβ2, and TRPM5, in the palate, tongue, and gastrointestinal tract sections in chicken. The bitter tastant quinine activates all three chicken Tas2rs in vitro as shown using calcium-imaging assays of transfected cells. Administration of quinine postnatally or perinatally (both pre- and posthatch) to chickens increased the expression of Tas2r genes in the palate by 6.45-fold (ggTas2r1 postnatal treatment), 4.86-fold (ggTas2r1 perinatal treatment), and 4.48-fold (ggTas2r7 postnatal treatment) compared to the genes' expression in the naïve group respectively, and affected taste related gene expression in the duodenum. Whereas no-choice intake of quinine solution was not significantly lower than that of water in naïve chicks, the treatment groups postnatal, prenatal, and perinatal showed significantly lower intake of quinine by 56.1, 47.7, and 50.2%, respectively, suggesting a possible trend toward sensitization. These results open new venues toward unraveling the formative stages shaping food intake and nutrition in chicken.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)12512-12520
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number52
StatePublished - 31 Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Chemical Society.


  • bitter taste receptors
  • chicken
  • gene expression
  • quinine
  • taste tests


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