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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Oct 9;388(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.07.069. Epub 2009 Jul 18.

Identification of the vesicular nucleotide transporter (VNUT) in taste cells.

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Institute of Life Sciences, Ajinomoto Co., Inc., Suzuki-cho, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki, Japan.


Taste cells are chemosensory epithelial cells that sense distinct taste qualities. It is the type II taste cell that express G-protein coupled receptors to sense either umami, sweet, or bitter compounds. Whereas several reports have suggested involvement of ATP in taste signal transduction, there is a paucity of molecular information about how ATP is stored and being released. The recent discovery of a novel vesicular nucleotide transporter (VNUT) led us to examine whether VNUT exist in the taste tissue where ATP is to be released for taste signal transmission. Here, we report that VNUT is selectively expressed in type II cell but not in type III taste cell. In addition, we show that during taste bud development VNUT expression is always accompanied by the expression of type II taste cell markers. Our results, together with previous studies, strongly suggest that VNUT plays a role in type II taste cell.

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