Acid and salt responses of taste cells induced by natural stimulation have not been investigated with exception of early studies with conventional microelectrode method, due to the toxicity of high concentration of salt or low pH of acid stimuli applied to isolated taste cells. This indicates that the application of rapid and localized stimulation to the apical membrane of taste cells is necessary for recording of natural responses to salt or acid stimuli using patch clamp technique. Recently we have developed a procedure to accomplish the quasi-natural condition including rapid, localized stimuli to the apical receptive membrane and the maintenance of taste bud polarity. In this review, we present our recent results obtained under quasi-natural condition using patch clamp techniques, comparing with the previously proposed hypothesis. One of our major finding is the fact that the acid-induced responses of taste cells in the mouse fungiform papillae are never suppressed by amiloride but an apical proton-gated conductance and a basolateral Cl(-) conductance possibly contribute to sour transduction. On the other hand, salt-induced responses are suppressed by amiloride, although the salt-induced responses recorded from a single cell involve both amiloride-sensitive and -insensitive components. Furthermore, the amiloride-insensitive component of salt responses possibly consists of multiple subcomponents including an apical sodium-gated nonselective cation conductance and a basolateral Cl(-) conductance. Recent reports also support the hypothesis that both acid and salt responses require specific receptor mechanisms of inorganic cations such as H(+) and Na(+) at the apical receptive membrane.