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Nature. 2015 Jan 15;517(7534):373-6. doi: 10.1038/nature13873. Epub 2014 Nov 5.

The neural representation of taste quality at the periphery.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Neuroscience, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York 10032, USA.
2
Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Virginia 20147, USA.
3
James H. Clark Center, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
4
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
5
1] Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Neuroscience, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York 10032, USA [2] Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Virginia 20147, USA.

Abstract

The mammalian taste system is responsible for sensing and responding to the five basic taste qualities: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. Previously, we showed that each taste is detected by dedicated taste receptor cells (TRCs) on the tongue and palate epithelium. To understand how TRCs transmit information to higher neural centres, we examined the tuning properties of large ensembles of neurons in the first neural station of the gustatory system. Here, we generated and characterized a collection of transgenic mice expressing a genetically encoded calcium indicator in central and peripheral neurons, and used a gradient refractive index microendoscope combined with high-resolution two-photon microscopy to image taste responses from ganglion neurons buried deep at the base of the brain. Our results reveal fine selectivity in the taste preference of ganglion neurons; demonstrate a strong match between TRCs in the tongue and the principal neural afferents relaying taste information to the brain; and expose the highly specific transfer of taste information between taste cells and the central nervous system.

PMID:
25383521
PMCID:
PMC4297533
DOI:
10.1038/nature13873
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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