This gene product belongs to the family of candidate taste receptors that are members of the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily. These proteins are specifically expressed in the taste receptor cells of the tongue and palate epithelia. They are organized in the genome in clusters and are genetically linked to loci that influence bitter perception in mice and humans. In functional expression studies, TAS2R14 responds to (−)-α-thujone, the primary neurotoxic agent in absinthe, and picrotoxin, a poison found in fishberries. This gene maps to the taste receptor gene cluster on chromosome 12p13.
TAS2R14 is also expressed in the smooth muscle of human airways, along with several other bitter taste receptors. Their activation in these cells causes an increase in intracellular calcium ion, which in turn triggers the opening of potassium channels which hyperpolarize the membrane and cause the smooth muscle to relax. Hence, activation of these receptors leads to bronchodilation.
^Behrens M, Brockhoff A, Kuhn C, Bufe B, Winnig M, Meyerhof W (June 2004). “The human taste receptor hTAS2R14 responds to a variety of different bitter compounds”. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 319 (2): 479–85. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2004.05.019. PMID15178431.