Wasabi receptor can sense ammonia that causes pain

November 13, 2008

Japanese research group, led by Prof Makoto Tominaga of National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, found that the receptor for hot taste of WASABI, Japanese horseradish usually eaten with Sushi, can sense alkaline pH caused by base such as ammonia. The team reports their finding in Journal of Clinical Investigation on November 13, 2008.

Clinically, alkaline pH is known to cause pain but the mechanism has been not known. By electrophysiological experiments, the team found that the WASABI receptor, namely transient receptor potential (TRP) A1 receptor, can be activated by alkalization inside of cells by application of base such as ammonia. Administration of such base to the foot of mice caused transient pain-related behaviors. However, it did not in TRPA1 deficient mice.

"It has the first report showing molecular entity for the alkali-sensor. You could feel pain when you eat too much WASABI with Japanese Sushi. We found that this pain sensation is the same with that caused by ammonia", said Prof Tominaga.

Source: National Institute for Physiological Sciences

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.