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Identification of novel sweet protein for nutritional applications

Research output: Other contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


The prevalence of obesity and diabetes has increased exponentially in recent years around the globe, especially in India. Sweet proteins have the potential to substitute the sugars, by acting as natural, good and low calorie sweeteners. They also do not trigger a demand for insulin in diabetic patients unlike sucrose. In humans, the sweet taste perception is mainly due to taste-specific G protein-coupled heterodimeric receptors T1R2-T1R3. These receptors recognize diverse natural and synthetic sweeteners such as monelin, brazzein, thaumatin, curculin, mabinlin, miraculin and pentadin. Structural modeling of new sweetener proteins will be a great leap in further advancement of knowledge and their utility as sweeteners. We have explored the fingerprints of sweetness by studying the aminoacid composition and structure properties of the above proteins. The structural analysis of monellin revealed that the individual A or B chains of monellin are not contributing to its sweetness. However, the native conformation and ionic interaction between AspB7 of monellin with active site of T1R2-T1R3 receptor, along with hydrogen bonding stability of IleB6 and IleB8 are responsible for the sweet taste. Based on structural similarity search, we found a new hypothetical protein from Shewanella loihica, which has the presence of Asp(32) with adjacent isoleucine residues. Further, we examined the lead protein by two-step docking for the study of interaction of functionally conserved residues with receptors. The identified protein showed similar ionic and hydrophobic interactions with monelin. This gives a promising opportunity to explore this protein for potential health application in the low calorie sweetener industry viz., soft drinks, snacks, food, chocolate industries etc.