January 27, 2016

Scientific American Article

Rob Lee and Noam Cohen have written an article that appears in the February 2016 issue of Scientific American, describing the new role of bitter "taste" receptors in innate immunity.  These taste receptors were originally identified on the tongue (hence their name), but have since been found in many organs  throughout the body.  Our labs and others have discovered that, in some tissues, these receptors protect us against bacteria by detecting bitter molecules that they produce.  These receptors then stimulate important defense responses.  Additionally, genetic variations (polymorphisms) in these receptors that underlie individual variations in taste preference also underly susceptibility to certain types of infections.  Check out the issue online or pick up a copy at a local book or magazine store.  Many thanks to Scientific American for thinking the article would be interesting to their audience and for letting us write it.