Chemical and electrical synaptic interactions among taste bud cells

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1 Scopus citations


Chemical synapses between taste cells were first proposed based on electron microscopy of fish taste buds. Subsequently, researchers found considerable evidence for electrical coupling in fish, amphibian, and possibly mammalian taste buds. The development lingual slice and isolated cell preparations allowed detailed investigations of cell‐cell interactions, both chemical and electrical, in taste buds. The identification of serotonin and ATP as taste neurotransmitters focused attention onto chemical synaptic interactions between taste cells and research on electrical coupling faded. Findings from Ca2+ imaging, electrophysiology, and molecular biology indicate that several neurotransmitters, including ATP, serotonin, GABA, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine, are secreted by taste cells and exert paracrine interactions in taste buds. Most work has been done on interactions between Type II and Type III taste cells. This brief review follows the trail of studies on cell–cell interactions in taste buds, from the initial ultrastructural observations to the most recent optogenetic manipulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-125
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Physiology
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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