Biologists explain Nicety cat food

The sensitivity of the two receptors for bitter taste has helped scientists to explain the excessive intelligibility many cats in the choice of food, reported in the journal BMC Neuroscience. Briefly about the research described in the blog publisher.

It is well known that cats have no sweet receptors. The researchers decided to appeal to the taste buds of bitter and conducted a series of experiments at the cellular level, figuring out how the two of them (Tas2r38, providing people hypersensitive and Tas2r43) respond to bitter compounds. The scientists worked with well-known tasters phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) and propylthiouracil (PROP) - their molecular structure is approximately the same as that of Brussels sprouts and broccoli, as well as derived from the aloe and aloin denatonium - the most bitter substances known to man. Denatonium often included in the composition of toxic drugs to prevent children and animals to eat them.

It turned out that the cat Tas2r38 ten times less sensitive to PTC and do not respond to PROP. Tas2r43 also reacted to weaker aloin, and denatonium - much stronger than the same receptor in humans. The researchers concluded that cats perceive bitter differently than humans - they at least feel more limited number of bitter compounds.

This can be explained by the fact that cats, unlike dogs, primates and bears - pure predators, generally do not eat plants. Consequently, they do not need advanced bitter receptors that allow other animals to distinguish poisonous plants from the mineral. Side effect of this - cats indifference to many types of food that a person appear to be tasty.

Scientists plan to use this discovery to create new compounds that block bitter receptors in cats. These substances help make pets more willing to take pills and be less picky about food.

4 June 2015

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