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Functional divergence of the bitter receptor TAS2R38 in Sulawesi macaques
Kanthi Arum Widayati, Xiaochan Yan, Nami Suzuki-Hashido, Akihiro Itoigawa, Laurentia Henrieta Permita Sari Purba, Fahri Fahri, Yohey Terai, Bambang Suryobroto, Hiroo Imai

Bitter perception is mediated by G protein-coupled receptors TAS2Rs and plays an important role in avoiding the ingestion of toxins by inducing innate avoidance behavior in mammals. One of the best-studied TAS2Rs is TAS2R38, which mediates the perception of the bitterness of synthetic phenylthiocarbamide (PTC). Previous studies of TAS2R38 have suggested that geographical separation enabled the independent divergence of bitter taste perception. The functional divergence of TAS2R38 in allopatric species has not been evaluated. We characterized the function of TAS2R38 in four allopatric species of Sulawesi macaques on Sulawesi Island. We found variation in PTC taste perception both within and across species. In most cases, TAS2R38 was sensitive to PTC, with functional divergence among species. We observed different truncated TAS2R38s that were not responsive to PTC in each species of Macaca nigra and M. nigrescens due to premature stop codons. Some variants of intact TAS2R38 with an amino acid substitution showed low sensitivity to PTC in M. tonkeana. Similarly, this intact TAS2R38 with PTC-low sensitivity has also been found in humans. We detected a shared haplotype in all four Sulawesi macaques, which may be the ancestral haplotype of Sulawesi macaques. In addition to shared haplotypes among Sulawesi macaques, other TAS2R38 haplotypes were species-specific. These results implied that the variation in TAS2R38 might be shaped by geographical patterns and local adaptation.

Bibliographic information

Ecol Evol. 2019;00:1-17.

2019/08/21 Primate Research Institute