Recognizing Taste: Coding Patterns Along the Neural Axis in Mammals

Kathrin Ohla, Ryusuke Yoshida, Stephen D Roper, Patricia M. Di Lorenzo, Jonathan D. Victor, John D. Boughter, Max Fletcher, Donald B. Katz, Nirupa Chaudhari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The gustatory system encodes information about chemical identity, nutritional value, and concentration of sensory stimuli before transmitting the signal from taste buds to central neurons that process and transform the signal. Deciphering the coding logic for taste quality requires examining responses at each level along the neural axis-from peripheral sensory organs to gustatory cortex. From the earliest single-fiber recordings, it was clear that some afferent neurons respond uniquely and others to stimuli of multiple qualities. There is frequently a "best stimulus" for a given neuron, leading to the suggestion that taste exhibits "labeled line coding." In the extreme, a strict "labeled line" requires neurons and pathways dedicated to single qualities (e.g., sweet, bitter, etc.). At the other end of the spectrum, "across-fiber," "combinatorial," or "ensemble" coding requires minimal specific information to be imparted by a single neuron. Instead, taste quality information is encoded by simultaneous activity in ensembles of afferent fibers. Further, "temporal coding" models have proposed that certain features of taste quality may be embedded in the cadence of impulse activity. Taste receptor proteins are often expressed in nonoverlapping sets of cells in taste buds apparently supporting "labeled lines." Yet, taste buds include both narrowly and broadly tuned cells. As gustatory signals proceed to the hindbrain and on to higher centers, coding becomes more distributed and temporal patterns of activity become important. Here, we present the conundrum of taste coding in the light of current electrophysiological and imaging techniques at several levels of the gustatory processing pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-247
Number of pages11
JournalChemical senses
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2019

Fingerprint

Mammals
Taste Buds
Neurons
Afferent Neurons
Rhombencephalon
Nutritive Value
Information Systems

Keywords

  • geniculate ganglion
  • gustatory coding
  • gustatory cortex
  • nucleus of solitary tract
  • taste bud
  • taste quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Recognizing Taste : Coding Patterns Along the Neural Axis in Mammals. / Ohla, Kathrin; Yoshida, Ryusuke; Roper, Stephen D; Di Lorenzo, Patricia M.; Victor, Jonathan D.; Boughter, John D.; Fletcher, Max; Katz, Donald B.; Chaudhari, Nirupa.

In: Chemical senses, Vol. 44, No. 4, 15.04.2019, p. 237-247.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ohla, K, Yoshida, R, Roper, SD, Di Lorenzo, PM, Victor, JD, Boughter, JD, Fletcher, M, Katz, DB & Chaudhari, N 2019, 'Recognizing Taste: Coding Patterns Along the Neural Axis in Mammals', Chemical senses, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 237-247. https://doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjz013
Ohla K, Yoshida R, Roper SD, Di Lorenzo PM, Victor JD, Boughter JD et al. Recognizing Taste: Coding Patterns Along the Neural Axis in Mammals. Chemical senses. 2019 Apr 15;44(4):237-247. https://doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjz013
Ohla, Kathrin ; Yoshida, Ryusuke ; Roper, Stephen D ; Di Lorenzo, Patricia M. ; Victor, Jonathan D. ; Boughter, John D. ; Fletcher, Max ; Katz, Donald B. ; Chaudhari, Nirupa. / Recognizing Taste : Coding Patterns Along the Neural Axis in Mammals. In: Chemical senses. 2019 ; Vol. 44, No. 4. pp. 237-247.
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