Differential expression of α-gustducin in taste bud populations of the rat and hamster

John Boughter, David W. Pumplin, Chengsi Yu, Robert C. Christy, David V. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

115 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The G-protein subunit α-gustducin, which is similar to rod transducin, has been implicated in the transduction of both sweet- and bitter-tasting substances. In rodents, there are differences in sensitivity to sweet and bitter stimuli in different populations of taste buds. Rat fungiform taste buds are more responsive to salts than to sweet stimuli, whereas those on the palate respond predominantly to sweet substances. In contrast, hamster fungiform taste buds are more sensitive to sweet-tasting stimuli. Taste buds in the vallate and foliate papillae of both species are sensitive to bitter compounds. These differences in sensitivity should be reflected in the numbers of gustducin-containing cells in different taste bud populations. We examined taste buds in the rat and hamster for immunoreactivity to an antibody against α-gustducin. Immunofluorescence of labeled taste cells was examined by confocal microscopy, and the cells were counted. Gustducin- positive cells were seen in all taste bud regions; they were spindle-shaped, with circular cross-sections and apical processes that extended to the taste pore. Cells with this characteristic shape in rat vallate taste buds are Type II (light) cells. In the rat, taste buds of the fungiform papillae had fewer gustducin-positive cells (3.1/taste bud) than those of other regions, including the posterior tongue and palate (> 8.9/taste bud). Hamster fungi- form taste buds contained twice as many gustducin-expressing cells (6.8/taste bud) as those of the rat. These data support the hypothesis that α- gustducin is involved in the transduction of both sweet- and bitter-tasting stimuli by mammalian taste receptor cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2852-2858
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume17
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 21 1997
Externally publishedYes

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Taste Buds
Cricetinae
Population
Palate
gustducin
Transducin
Protein Subunits
GTP-Binding Proteins
Tongue
Confocal Microscopy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Boughter, J., Pumplin, D. W., Yu, C., Christy, R. C., & Smith, D. V. (1997). Differential expression of α-gustducin in taste bud populations of the rat and hamster. Journal of Neuroscience, 17(8), 2852-2858.

Differential expression of α-gustducin in taste bud populations of the rat and hamster. / Boughter, John; Pumplin, David W.; Yu, Chengsi; Christy, Robert C.; Smith, David V.

In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 17, No. 8, 21.04.1997, p. 2852-2858.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Boughter, J, Pumplin, DW, Yu, C, Christy, RC & Smith, DV 1997, 'Differential expression of α-gustducin in taste bud populations of the rat and hamster', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 17, no. 8, pp. 2852-2858.
Boughter, John ; Pumplin, David W. ; Yu, Chengsi ; Christy, Robert C. ; Smith, David V. / Differential expression of α-gustducin in taste bud populations of the rat and hamster. In: Journal of Neuroscience. 1997 ; Vol. 17, No. 8. pp. 2852-2858.
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