The cell biology of vertebrate taste receptors

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


New technologies in neurophysiology and ultrastructural research are bringing about rapid advances in our understanding of taste, particularly at the cellular level. The model of chemosensory processing in the taste bud presented here can now be explored in great detail. The synaptic organization of the taste bud indicates a potential for intriguing peripheral integrative mechanisms, including cross-talk between taste cells, summation of chemoreceptor responses by interneurons (basal cells) in the taste bud, and centrifugal control of taste buds via efferent input from the CNS. The existence of voltage-gated ionic channels on taste cells and their unequal distribution in apical and basolateral membrane suggests mechanisms for chemosensory transduction: A primary event in the transduction process for many taste stimuli is likely to be the closure of apical potassium channels, thus leading to a depolarizing receptor potential. The closure of these apical potassium channels is probably mediated via cyclic nucleotides or intracellular Ca2+.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-353
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Neuroscience
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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