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What happens to molecules after binding to a taste receptor?

  1. Feb 7, 2015 #1
    Do they unbind somehow? Or are they somehow "eaten" by the receptor, so the more you taste of something, the less of it gets through? I'm only a Wikipedia/Youtube student so my knowledge has weird gaps all over the place. Got thinking about this by noticing an interesting taste that some medication had.

    I'd also be curious about smell receptors.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2015 #2


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    Gold Member

    They unbind. In fact, an exposure to a ligand involves many cycles of binding and unbinding until the ligand is no longer available. How much time a ligand spends on the receptor (on average) can be found by comparing the "on-rate" (how often ligand binds) to the "off-rate" (how often it unbinds). Another name for the off-rate is the dissociation constant.
  4. Feb 8, 2015 #3
    Thanks :)
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