T2Rs (bitter taste-sensing type 2 receptors) are expressed in the oral cavity to prevent ingestion of dietary toxins through taste avoidance. They are also expressed in other cell types, including gut enteroendocrine cells, where their physiological role is enigmatic. Previously, we proposed that T2R-dependent CCK (cholecystokinin) secretion from enteroendocrine cells limits absorption of dietary toxins, but an active mechanism was lacking. In the present study we show that T2R signalling activates ABCB1 (ATP-binding cassette B1) in intestinal cells through a CCK signalling mechanism. PTC (phenylthiocarbamide), an agonist for the T2R38 bitter receptor, increased ABCB1 expression in both intestinal cells and mouse intestine. PTC induction of ABCB1 was decreased by either T2R38 siRNA (small interfering RNA) or treatment with YM022, a gastrin receptor antagonist. Thus gut ABCB1 is regulated through signalling by CCK/gastrin released in response to PTC stimulation of T2R38 on enteroendocrine cells. We also show that PTC increases the efflux activity of ABCB1, suggesting that T2R signalling limits the absorption of bitter tasting/toxic substances through modulation of gut efflux membrane transporters.

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