A gustotopic map of taste qualities in the mammalian brain

Science. 2011 Sep 2;333(6047):1262-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1204076.


The taste system is one of our fundamental senses, responsible for detecting and responding to sweet, bitter, umami, salty, and sour stimuli. In the tongue, the five basic tastes are mediated by separate classes of taste receptor cells each finely tuned to a single taste quality. We explored the logic of taste coding in the brain by examining how sweet, bitter, umami, and salty qualities are represented in the primary taste cortex of mice. We used in vivo two-photon calcium imaging to demonstrate topographic segregation in the functional architecture of the gustatory cortex. Each taste quality is represented in its own separate cortical field, revealing the existence of a gustotopic map in the brain. These results expose the basic logic for the central representation of taste.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cycloheximide
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Glutamate
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Buds / physiology


  • Sweetening Agents
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Cycloheximide
  • Sodium Glutamate