6-Methoxyflavanones as Bitter Taste Receptor Blockers

W.S.U. Roland, R.J. Gouka, H. Gruppen, M. Driesse, L. van Buren, G. Smit, J.P. Vincken

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Many (dietary) bitter compounds, e.g. flavonoids, activate bitter receptor hTAS2R39 in cell-based assays. Several flavonoids, amongst which some flavanones, are known not to activate this receptor. As certain flavanones are known to mask bitter taste sensorially, flavanones might act as bitter receptor antagonists. Fourteen flavanones were investigated for their potential to reduce activation of hTAS2R39 by epicatechin gallate (ECG), one of the main bitter compounds occurring in green tea. Three flavanones showed inhibitory behavior towards the activation of hTAS2R39 by ECG: 49-fluoro-6-methoxyflavanone, 6,39-dimethoxyflavanone, and 6-methoxyflavanone (in order of decreasing potency). The 6-methoxyflavanones also inhibited activation of hTAS2R14 (another bitter receptor activated by ECG), though to a lesser extent. Dose-response curves of ECG at various concentrations of the full antagonist 49-fluoro-6-methoxyflavanone and wash-out experiments indicated reversible insurmountable antagonism. The same effect was observed for the structurally different agonist denatonium benzoate
Original languageDutch
Article numbere94451
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • structural requirements
  • activate
  • peptides
  • subunits

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