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The receptors and cells for mammalian taste

Abstract

The emerging picture of taste coding at the periphery is one of elegant simplicity. Contrary to what was generally believed, it is now clear that distinct cell types expressing unique receptors are tuned to detect each of the five basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. Importantly, receptor cells for each taste quality function as dedicated sensors wired to elicit stereotypic responses.

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Figure 1: Taste-receptor cells, buds and papillae.
Figure 2: Encoding of taste qualities at the periphery.
Figure 3: Sweet, umami, bitter and sour are mediated by specific receptors and cells.
Figure 4: Summary of receptors for umami, sweet, bitter and sour tastes.
Figure 5: Behavioural attraction and aversion are mediated by dedicated taste-receptor cells.

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Acknowledgements

We thank a group of extraordinary students, postdoctoral fellows and research technicians in our laboratories, who joined us on this wonderful journey of mammalian taste research beginning in the fall of 1997. N.J.P.R. is an investigator in the Intramural program at the NIH, NIDCR. C.S.Z. is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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Chandrashekar, J., Hoon, M., Ryba, N. et al. The receptors and cells for mammalian taste. Nature 444, 288–294 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05401

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