Grant recipientHenriette Autzen says: “Sweet, umami, bitter, salt and sour are the five tastes, which allow us to enjoy home cooked meals or motivate us to seek out Michelin star restaurants to experience new, imaginative dishes. However, gustatory perception is also tied to survival and helps our bodies identify toxins, maintain nutrition and regulate gastrointestinal motility. The receptors involved in taste signaling are known, but details on their molecular mechanisms remain unknown. My project aims at advancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying sweet and umami taste perception by exploring the cutting edge of single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to study the structure, dynamics and function of membrane-bound taste receptors. As a major bottle neck in cryo-EM is sample preparation, I aim to extend our understanding beyond the receptors, developing sample-preparation approaches to facilitate native-like conditions for membrane proteins outside their home environment.”
A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down: Decoding the molecular mechanisms of sweet and savory taste signaling
Grant amount: DKK 9,999,375
February 1st 2020 Henriette Autzen relocated in from her postdoctoral position at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), US to Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, where she is setting up her independent research group.