Capacitance measurements of regulated exocytosis in mouse taste cells

J Neurosci. 2010 Nov 3;30(44):14695-701. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1570-10.2010.


Exocytosis, consisting of the merger of vesicle and plasma membrane, is a common mechanism used by different types of nucleated cells to release their vesicular contents. Taste cells possess vesicles containing various neurotransmitters to communicate with adjacent taste cells and afferent nerve fibers. However, whether these vesicles engage in exocytosis on a stimulus is not known. Since vesicle membrane merger with the plasma membrane is reflected in plasma membrane area fluctuations, we measured membrane capacitance (C(m)), a parameter linearly related to membrane surface area. To investigate whether taste cells undergo regulated exocytosis, we used the compensated tight-seal whole-cell recording technique to monitor depolarization-induced changes in C(m) in the different types of taste cells. To identify taste cell types, mice expressing green fluorescent protein from the TRPM5 promoter or from the GAD67 promoter were used to discriminate type II and type III taste cells, respectively. Moreover, the cell types were also identified by monitoring their voltage-current properties. The results demonstrate that only type III taste cells show significant depolarization-induced increases in C(m), which were correlated to the voltage-activated calcium currents. The results suggest that type III, but neither type II nor type I cells exhibit depolarization-induced regulated exocytosis to release transmitter and activate gustatory afferent nerve fibers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Electric Capacitance*
  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Synaptic Vesicles / physiology*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Buds / cytology
  • Taste Buds / physiology*