Taste Coding and Feedforward/Feedback Signaling in Taste Buds

Stephen D. Roper and Nirupa Chaudhari

in Handbook of Brain Microcircuits

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780195389883
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965137 | DOI:
Taste Coding and Feedforward/Feedback Signaling in Taste Buds

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  • Development of the Nervous System


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Taste buds represent a community of cells that not only collect but also analyze gustatory information via synaptic interactions. Type II (“receptor”) cells express receptors for sweet, bitter, or umami compounds. These cells secrete ATP via unconventional synapses—hemichannels likely composed of pannexin 1. ATP excites neighboring Type III cells and also may be a transmitter between Receptor cells and sensory fibers. Type III (‘presynaptic”) cells respond to sour compounds (acids) and release serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin inhibits adjacent receptor cells and thus exerts inhibitory feedback during taste reception. Taste buds also contain Type I (“glial”) cells that degrade/take up neurotransmitters and may be responsible for spatial buffering of K+. The functional responses of Type I cells and their involvement in the microcircuitry of the taste bud are presently unknown. The combined actions of ATP, serotonin, norepinephrine, and as-yet unidentified transmitters process and modulate taste signals during gustatory activation.

Chapter.  2246 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development of the Nervous System

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