Hyun Seok Song†,#, Hye Jun Jin ‡,#, Sae Ryun Ahn †, Daesan Kim §, Sang Hun Lee †, Un-Kyung Kim⊥, Christopher T. Simons∥, Seunghun Hong ‡*, and Tai Hyun Park†¶*
†School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Bio-MAX Institute, ‡Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Institute of Applied Physics, and §Department of Biophysics and Chemical Biology, Seoul National University, Seoul, 151-747, Republic of Korea
⊥Department of Biology, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, Republic of Korea
∥Department of Food Science & Technology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1007, United States
¶ Advanced Institutes of Convergence Technology, Suwon 443-270, Republic of Korea
*Address correspondence to Seunghun Hong, Tai Hyun Park
# These authors contributed equally to this work.
The sense of taste helps humans to obtain information and form a picture of the world by recognizing chemicals in their environments. Over the past decade, large advances have been made in understanding the mechanisms of taste detection and mimicking its capability using artificial sensor devices. However, the detection capability of previous artificial taste sensors has been far inferior to that of animal tongues, in terms of its sensitivity and selectivity. Herein, we developed a bioelectronic tongue using heterodimeric human sweet taste receptors for the detection and discrimination of sweeteners with human-like performance, where single-walled carbon nanotube field-effect transistors were functionalized with nanovesicles containing human sweet taste receptors and used to detect the binding of sweeteners to the taste receptors. The receptors are heterodimeric G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) composed of human taste receptor type 1 member 2 (hTAS1R2) and human taste receptor type 1 member 3 (hTAS1R3), which have multiple binding sites and allow a human tongue-like broad selectivity for the detection of sweeteners. This nanovesicle-based bioelectronic tongue can be a powerful tool for the detection of sweeteners as an alternative to labor-intensive and time-consuming cell-based assays and the sensory evaluation panels used in the food and beverage industry. Furthermore, this study also allows the artificial sensor to exam the functional activity of dimeric GPCRs.
Keywords: bioelectronic tongue; human sweet taste receptor; heterodimeric G-protein-coupled receptor; single-walled carbon nanotube; nanovesicle