The glucose-sensing receptor: A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down hos Biologisk Institut - Københavns Universitet


Sweet, umami, and bitter tastes allow us to enjoy homecooked meals, and motivate us to seek out Michelin star restaurants. However, gustatory perception is also tied to survival and helps our bodies identify toxins, maintain nutrition, and regulate gastrointestinal motility. The receptors involved in taste signaling are well-known, but details on their molecular mechanisms remain uncharacterized. The Autzen Lab is working on advancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying sweet, umami, and bitter taste perception and is looking for motivated students who wants to join the team.


Heterotrimeric G proteins consist of three subunits: alpha, beta, and gamma (Gα, Gβ, and Gγ). This complex converts signals received by the GPCR on the cell surface into cellular responses that entail initiation of a vast number of signaling cascades. The sweet taste receptors T1R2 and T1R3 forms heterodimers and homodimers and respond to a range of different sugars and sweeteners.

In this project you will determine how the sweet taste receptors T1R2 and T1R3 respond to orthosteric and allosteric agonists using pharmacological assays on cultured, mammalian cells transiently expressing taste receptors and G protein complexes. Identification of new interaction partners and activation modes will in turn be analyzed via a spectrum of techniques commonly used in the laboratory.


Depending on the project level and duration, projects will entail:

  • Cell transfection or transduction with DNA or baculovirus particles (HEK293)
  • Plasmid and primer design
  • DNA isolation and PCR
  • Protein analysis (SDS-PAGE, Western blot)
  • Cell-surface ELISA
  • Mammalian cell culture (HEK293)
  • Biochemical assays (in vitro)
  • Pharmacological assays (ex vivo) and analysis
  • Bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) assays
  • Literature search
  • Critical analysis
  • Training in the scientific method
  • Communication of results


We offer you great opportunities for personal and professional development, and an exciting and stimulating research project set in an inclusive, creative, fun, and international environment. We have access to a wide selection of state-of-the-art equipment for cellular, biochemical, and biophysical protein characterization.

Read more on our website:


We are looking for motivated candidates with an interest in biochemistry, structural biology, and/or pharmacology to join our team.

The project can be tailored to the BSc and MSc level and to a 3–6-month ERASMUS exchange.

Please state why you are interested in joining the lab, including how it fits into your career and educational goals. Please include a list of your completed courses.

Contact/Kontakt: Henriette E. Autzen,

Location/Sted: Section for Biomolecular Sciences, Linderstrøm-Lang Centre for Protein Science / Sektion for Biomolekylære Videnskaber, Linderstrøm-Lang Centre for Proteinvidenskab

Biocenteret, Ole Maaløes Vej 5, 2200 København N

Keywords: Molekylærbiologi, molecular biology, kloning, cloning, proteinkemi, protein chemistry, biokemi, biochemistry, proteiner, proteins, membrane protein, membranprotein, structural biology, strukturbiologi, pharmacology, farmakologi, ERASMUS

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