SNAP-25 is a 25 kDa protein believed to be involved in the processes of membrane fusion and exocytosis associated with neurotransmitter release. In the present study we present evidence that SNAP-25-like immunoreactivity can be used as a marker for taste cells with synapses in rat circumvallate papillae. SNAP-25 immunoreactivity is present in most intragemmal nerve processes and a small subset of taste cells. Intense immunoreactivity is associated with the nerve plexus located below the base of the taste bud. Of a total of 87 taste cells with synapses onto nerve processes, 80 of the presynaptic taste cells had SNAP-25 immunoreactivity. The association of SNAP-25 immunoreactivity with taste cells possessing synapses suggests that these cells may be gustatory receptor cells. Because this SNAP-25 antibody can label taste cells with synapses, it may also serve as a useful tool for future studies correlating structure with function in the taste bud.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.