Redpoint Bio Corporation announces discovery of molecular mechanism for thymol taste transduction

March 11, 2008
Researchers identify key ion channel activated by Thymol.

EWING, New Jersey--Redpoint Bio Corporation, a company developing ingredients to improve the taste of pharmaceutical, food and beverage products, has announced the discovery that thymol can activate the human transient receptor potential A1 (hTRPA1) ion channel.

Thymol, a natural compound found in oregano and thyme and a major component of oral consumer products, is well known for its aversive properties including a sharp odor and pungent flavor.

It also has powerful anti-infective and anti-inflammatory properties and is currently used in various consumer products, most notably oral rinses and mouthwash.

The findings, published in The British Journal of Pharmacology, show that thymol taste can be transduced via the hTRPA1 ion channel, a channel which is also activated by other compounds with pungent taste properties such as cinnamaldehyde (a flavoring compound used to impart cinnamon flavor), mustard oil (including wasabi mustard) and allicin, a pungent component of fresh garlic.

In addition, new findings were reported regarding the ability of propofol, an important pharmacological sedative used in surgical procedures, to activate this same ion channel.

The research paper entitled, "Thymol and related alkyl phenols activate the hTRPA1 channel," was published online recently on the Journal's Web site at Nature.

The paper was authored by members of Redpoint's discovery research team, including S. Paul Lee, M. Tulu Buber, Qifeng Yang, Rok Cerne, Rosa Y. Cortés, Dennis G. Sprous and Robert W. Bryant, Ph.D.

Dr. Bryant, vice president of Discovery Research for Redpoint, noted, "We are very pleased that these important findings have been published in this prestigious, peer-reviewed journal. The discovery of a molecular mechanism causing the unpleasant taste of Thymol-containing products, allows Redpoint to begin to identify molecules that could block its aversive taste properties, yet also maintain its positive health attributes."

Dr. Bryant added, "This discovery underscores the utility of Redpoint Bio's scientific approach to the molecular mechanisms of taste, and opens the door for the development of future consumer and pharmaceutical products targeting this important pathway."

For more information, visit the Company's Web site at Redpoint Bio.

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