New insights into the signal transmission from taste cells to gustatory nerve fibers

Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2010:279:101-34. doi: 10.1016/S1937-6448(10)79004-3. Epub 2010 Jan 29.


Taste receptor cells detect chemical compounds in the oral cavity and transfer their messages to gustatory afferent nerve fibers. Considering the coding of taste information, the sensitivity of taste cells and the connection between taste cells and gustatory fibers may be critical in this process. Broadly tuned taste cells and random connections between taste cells and fibers would produce gustatory fibers that have broad sensitivity to multiple taste qualities. Narrowly tuned taste cells and selective connections would yield gustatory nerve fibers that respond to specific taste quality. This review summarizes results showing molecular and morphological aspects of taste bud cells, physiological responses of taste cells, possible connections between taste cells and gustatory fibers, and transmitter release from taste cells, and discusses how taste qualities are encoded among taste bud cells and how taste information is transmitted from taste cells to gustatory nerve fibers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Buds* / cytology
  • Taste Buds* / physiology
  • Tongue / anatomy & histology


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled