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Biological Chemistry

Labdane Diterpenoid Found In Goldenrod Masks Bitterness

Compound binds to human bitterness receptor

by Elizabeth K. Wilson
July 21, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 29

Scientists have discovered a compound extracted from the Canada goldenrod plant that binds to human bitterness receptors (J. Nat. Prod. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/np5001413). Bitterness-masking compounds are a hot research focus because they could be important in developing foods or medicines that people would otherwise reject as too bitter-tasting. The human tongue contains the TAS2R family of bitterness receptors, and their active sites are popular binding targets. A. Douglas Kinghorn of Ohio State University and colleagues screened extracts from Canada goldenrods, which had been shown to inhibit one of the human bitterness receptors, hTAS2R31. They isolated a number of compounds, including a new labdane diterpenoid, called solidagol. Another of these compounds, 3β-acetoxycopalic acid, directly inhibited hTAS2R31 activity and is the first labdane diterpene shown to have this property, the authors report. The group then used computational modeling to show how this compound binds to the active site of the receptor. The compound, they say, “might be a potential source for the development of bitterness-masking dietary supplements or agents.”


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