Identification of the vesicular nucleotide transporter (VNUT) in taste cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Oct 9;388(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.07.069. Epub 2009 Jul 18.


Taste cells are chemosensory epithelial cells that sense distinct taste qualities. It is the type II taste cell that express G-protein coupled receptors to sense either umami, sweet, or bitter compounds. Whereas several reports have suggested involvement of ATP in taste signal transduction, there is a paucity of molecular information about how ATP is stored and being released. The recent discovery of a novel vesicular nucleotide transporter (VNUT) led us to examine whether VNUT exist in the taste tissue where ATP is to be released for taste signal transmission. Here, we report that VNUT is selectively expressed in type II cell but not in type III taste cell. In addition, we show that during taste bud development VNUT expression is always accompanied by the expression of type II taste cell markers. Our results, together with previous studies, strongly suggest that VNUT plays a role in type II taste cell.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • COS Cells
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nucleotide Transport Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Nucleotide Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction
  • Taste Buds / cytology
  • Taste Buds / metabolism*


  • Nucleotide Transport Proteins
  • Slc17a9 protein, rat
  • Adenosine Triphosphate