|Image by צביה from Wikipedia|
This surprising connection between taste and male fertility occurred when the gene encoding the taste receptor proteins TAS1R3 (part of savory taste receptor) and GNAT3 (converts oral taste signal to a nerve signal) were modified in mice allowing for selective knockout with the drug clofibrate.
When these genetically modified mice were given clofibrate leaving the mice without any functional TAS1R3 and GNAT3, the males became sterile due to profoundly reduced sperm counts and malformations.
When clofibrate administration was stopped in these mice, fertility immediately came back.
Of note, clofibrate is a common drug prescribed to treat high cholesterol.
And it does potentially suggest that such cholesterol drugs may adversely influence human male fertility... as well as potentially lead to a safe and effective non-hormonal male contraceptive.
Genetic loss or pharmacological blockade of testes-expressed taste genes causes male sterility. Published online before print July 1, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1302827110 PNAS July 1, 2013