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Chem Senses. 2017 Sep 1;42(7):547-552. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjx032.

Genetic Lineage Tracing in Taste Tissues Using Sox2-CreERT2 Strain.

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Monell Chemical Senses Center, 3500 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Department of Life Science and Technology, Graduate School of Life Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259-B63 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8501, Japan.
Center for Biological Resources and Informatics, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259-B63 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8501, Japan.


Taste cells in taste buds are epithelial sensory cells. Old taste bud cells die and are replaced by new ones generated from taste stem cells. Identifying and characterizing adult taste stem cells is therefore important to understand how peripheral taste tissues are maintained. SOX2 is expressed in oral epithelium including gustatory papillae and has been proposed to be a marker of adult taste stem/progenitor cells. Nevertheless, this hypothesis has never been directly tested. Here, by single-color genetic lineage tracing using Sox2-CreERT2 strain, we reveal that all types of taste bud cells distributed throughout the oral epithelium are derived from stem cells that express SOX2. Short-term tracing shows that SOX2-positive taste stem cells actively supply taste bud cells. At the base of epithelium outside taste buds are distributed proliferation marker- and SOX2-positive cells. Consistently, taste stem cells identified by Lgr5 expression in the circumvallate papillae also express SOX2. Together, taste stem cells distributed in oral epithelia express SOX2.


lineage tracing; oral epithelium; stem cell; taste bud cell

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