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Am J Physiol. 1997 Jan;272(1 Pt 1):C1-26.

New perspectives in a gustatory physiology: transduction, development, and plasticity.

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Department of Physiology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298, USA.


Major advances in the understanding of mammalian gustatory transduction mechanisms have occurred in the past decade. Recent research has revealed that a remarkable diversity of cellular mechanisms are involved in taste stimulus reception. These mechanisms range from G protein-and second messenger-linked receptor systems to stimulus-gated and stimulus-admitting ion channels. Contrary to widely held ideas, new data show that some taste stimuli interact with receptive sites that are localized on both the apical and basolateral membranes of taste cells. Studies of taste system development in several species indicate that the transduction pathways for some stimuli are modulated significantly during the early postnatal period. In addition, recent investigations of adult peripheral gustatory system plasticity strongly suggest that the function of the Na+ sensing system can be modulated by circulating hormones, growth factors, or cytokines.

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