Section II: Metabolic Function, Chemoreception & Biosignals

(Webpage is currently being revised.)

Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Veronika Somoza, research section II comprises the two units Metabolic Function & Biosignals (Prof. Dr. Veronika Somoza) and Taste & Systems Reception (Dr. habil. Maik Behrens). The scientists study the fundamental mechanisms of action and biosignal coding of food-relevant effector systems on the chemosensory systems of smell and taste as well as of the oro-gastrointestinal and the cellular immune system. The researchers want to answer the question as to how individual food choices develop and which role food effector systems play in the development of peoples’ food preferences and nutritional needs.

  • Development of biochemical, molecular and cell-biological high-throughput test systems to decode chemoreceptor-dependent actions of biofunctional food ingredients and their metabolite networks on biological systems such as mouth, nose, gastrointestinal tract, and blood immune cells.
  • Functional investigation of the genetic polymorphism of chemoreceptive cells and food-relevant epigenetic influences as basis for the development of personalized nutrition concepts.
  • Development of cell-free chemosensor systems using recombinant receptor proteins to recognize chemosensory stimuli systems with human-like performance.

Our research will provide new basic insights into the physiological activity of biofunctional food effector systems and will help to develop new intelligent sensor systems enabling the rapid monitoring of food quality and food safety. 

Selected Publications:

Prandi S, Voigt A, Meyerhof W, Behrens M (2018) Cell Mol Life Sci 75: 49-65. Expression profiling of Tas2r genes reveals a complex pattern along the mouse GI tract and the presence of Tas2r131 in a subset of intestinal Paneth cells.

Behrens M, Blank K, Meyerhof W (2017) Cell Chem Biol 24: 1199-1204.e2. Blends of non-caloric sweeteners saccharin and cyclamate show reduced off-taste due to TAS2R bitter receptor inhibition.

Geithe C, Protze J, Kreuchwig F, Krause G, Krautwurst D (2017) Cell Mol Life Sci 74, 4209-4229. Structural determinants of a conserved enantiomer-selective carvone binding pocket in the human odorant receptor OR1A1.

Noe F, Frey T, Fiedler J, Geithe C, Nowak B, Krautwurst D (2017) J Biol Methods 2017;4(4):e81. IL-6–HaloTag® enables live-cell plasma membrane staining, flow cytometry, functional expression, and de-orphaning of recombinant odorant receptors.

Schoenknecht C, Andersen G, Schieberle P (2016) J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 1036-1037: 1-9. A novel method for the quantitation of gingerol glucuronides in human plasma or urine based on stable isotope dilution assays.

Schoenknecht C, Andersen G, Schmidts I, Schieberle P (2016) J Agric Food Chem 64:2269-2279. Quantitation of Gingerols in Human Plasma by Newly Developed Stable Isotope Dilution Assays and Assessment of Their Immunomodulatory Potential.