March 17, 2020

Macrophages use bitter taste receptors to "eat" bacteria

Our macrophage paper is online at Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. We show that macrophages use bitter taste receptors to detect bacterial products and stimulate phagocytosis. The paper includes work from Indi and Jenna. 

Macrophages use a signal transduction pathway downstream of T2Rs similar to airway cells, but with a different physiological output (phagocytosis vs cilia beating in the airway). Targeting T2Rs in macrophages might be beneficial in certain types of bacterial infections.  Moreover, activation of T2Rs in macrophages by bitter plant products or bitter pharmaceuticals might explain some effects of homeopathic remedies or off target effects of clinical drugs.