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Responsiveness to 6-n-Propylthiouracil (PROP) Is Associated with Salivary Levels of Two Specific Basic Proline-Rich Proteins in Humans
Published: Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Author: Tiziana Cabras et al.

by Tiziana Cabras, Melania Melis, Massimo Castagnola, Alessandra Padiglia, Beverly J. Tepper, Irene Messana, Iole Tomassini Barbarossa

Thiourea tasting can be predictive of individual differences in bitter taste responses, general food preferences and eating behavior, and could be correlated with saliva chemical composition. We investigated the possible relationship between PROP bitter taste responsiveness and the salivary proteome in subjects genotyped for TAS2R38 and gustin gene polymorphisms. Taste perception intensity evoked by PROP and NaCl solutions was measured in sixty-three volunteers (21 males, 42 females, age 25±3 y) to establish their PROP taster status, and 24 PROP super-tasters and 21 nontasters were selected to participate in the study. TAS2R38 and gustin gene molecular analysis were performed using PCR techniques. Qualitative and quantitative determination of salivary proteins was performed by HPLC-ESI-MS before and after PROP taste stimulation. PROP super-tastings was strongly associated with the ‘taster’ variant (PAV haplotype) of TAS2R38 and the A allele of rs2274333 polymorphism in the gustin gene and nontasting was associated with the minor alleles at both loci. ANOVA revealed that basal levels of II-2 and Ps-1 proteins, belonging to the basic proline-rich protein (bPRPs) family, were significantly higher in PROP super-taster than in nontaster un-stimulated saliva, and that PROP stimulation elicited a rapid increase in the levels of these same proteins only in PROP super-taster saliva. These data show for the first time that responsiveness to PROP is associated with salivary levels of II-2 peptide and Ps-1 protein, which are products of the PRB1 gene. These findings suggest that PRB1, in addition to TAS2R38 and gustin, could contribute to individual differences in thiourea sensitivity, and the expression of the PROP phenotype as a complex genetic trait.