There are five basic tastes- bitter, sweet, umami, sour and salty. Umami is the savoury flavour.
The molecular biology of this taste is being revealed by Li and colleagues.
The umami taste is due to the amino acid glutamate and enhanced by the ribonucleotides IMP and GMP. Appreciating this taste depends on G-protein coupled receptors of class ( C-GPCRs) similar to the sweet taste.
The umami taste ( T1R1-T1R3) and the sweet taste (T1R2-T1R3) share the same transmembrane subunit, T1R3, a unique subunit dictates the perception of that taste. Four amino acid residues deep in the VFT domain are critical to the distinction.
In creased savoury taste perception by the ribonucleotides IMP and GMP is affected by four amino acids located at the opening of the taste VFT domain.
Shadam 2009 A taste of umami Nature vol 457, p 161
F Zhang et al Proc Natl Acad Science USA 2008
- Martin Eastwood