Project: Research project

Project Details


Chemosensory mechanisms in the vertebrate taste bud have eluded
detailed analyses until recently, mainly due to the relative
inaccessibility of the taste cells. A particularly important question is
how signals are processed in the peripheral taste organs.
Ultrastructural studies have shown that there are synapses between taste
cells and gustatory axons as well as between taste cells, themselves,
raising the possibility that there is synaptic processing in the taste
bud. We have recently employed a new approach that will allow us to
examine the microphysiology of taste cells in a relatively intact, but
exposed preparation and to begin to answer these questions. This
preparation consists of a thin slice of lingual epithelium, mounted in a
shallow. transparent chamber in such a way that entire taste buds and
their cells can be visualized in the living isolated tissue.
The objective of the following proposal is to test the hypothesis
that there are synaptic connections among cells in the taste bud and that
the final output, activity in gustatory sensory axons, represents a
complex integration of signals from several different cells within the
taste bud. Thus, we propose the following specific aims for the project:
1) We propose to confirm and extend our preliminary findings suggesting
that there are synaptic connections between receptor and basal cells:
2) We will examine the properties of these synaptic connections, namely
their Ca-dependence, neurotransmitter type, ionic mechanisms and response
to repetitive and/or prolonged activation:
3) We will determine whether synaptic connections between receptor cells
and basal cells are bidirectional and/or reciprocal, as their morphology
The results of these studies will provide information relevant to signal
processing in chemosensory receptor organs in general, such as carotid
body responses. Furthermore, the data may provide a baseline for
studying the question of how taste stimuli are coded in the vertebrate
taste bud.
Effective start/end date7/1/926/30/95


  • National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders
  • National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.