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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Perception of sweet taste is important for voluntary alcohol consumption in mice.

To directly evaluate the association between taste perception and alcohol intake, we used three different mutant mice, each lacking a gene expressed in taste buds and critical to taste transduction: alpha-gustducin (Gnat3), Tas1r3 or Trpm5. Null mutant mice lacking any of these three genes showed lower preference score for alcohol and consumed less alcohol in a two-bottle choice test, as compared with wild-type littermates. These null mice also showed lower preference score for saccharin solutions than did wild-type littermates. In contrast, avoidance of quinine solutions was less in Gnat3 or Trpm5 knockout mice than in wild-type mice, whereas Tas1r3 null mice were not different from wild type in their response to quinine solutions. There were no differences in null vs. wild-type mice in their consumption of sodium chloride solutions. To determine the cause for reduction of ethanol intake, we studied other ethanol-induced behaviors known to be related to alcohol consumption. There were no differences between null and wild-type mice in ethanol-induced loss of righting reflex, severity of acute ethanol withdrawal or conditioned place preference for ethanol. Weaker conditioned taste aversion (CTA) to alcohol in null mice may have been caused by weaker rewarding value of the conditioned stimulus (saccharin). When saccharin was replaced by sodium chloride, no differences in CTA to alcohol between knockout and wild-type mice were seen. Thus, deletion of any one of three different genes involved in detection of sweet taste leads to a substantial reduction of alcohol intake without any changes in pharmacological actions of ethanol.[1]


  1. Perception of sweet taste is important for voluntary alcohol consumption in mice. Blednov, Y.A., Walker, D., Martinez, M., Levine, M., Damak, S., Margolskee, R.F. Genes Brain Behav. (2008) [Pubmed]
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