Taste Transductions in Taste Receptor Cells: Basic Tastes and Moreover

Curr Pharm Des. 2014;20(16):2684-92. doi: 10.2174/13816128113199990575.

Abstract

In the oral cavity, taste receptor cells dedicate to detecting chemical compounds in foodstuffs and transmitting their signals to gustatory nerve fibers. Heretofore, five taste qualities (sweet, umami, bitter, salty and sour) are generally accepted as basic tastes. Each of these may have a specific role in the detection of nutritious and poisonous substances; sweet for carbohydrate sources of calories, umami for protein and amino acid contents, bitter for harmful compounds, salty for minerals and sour for ripeness of fruits and spoiled foods. Recent studies have revealed molecular mechanisms for reception and transduction of these five basic tastes. Sweet, umami and bitter tastes are mediated by G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and second-messenger signaling cascades. Salty and sour tastes are mediated by channel-type receptors. In addition to five basic tastes, taste receptor cells may have the ability to detect fat taste, which is elicited by fatty acids, and calcium taste, which is elicited by calcium. Taste compounds eliciting either fat taste or calcium taste may be detected by specific GPCRs expressed in taste receptor cells. This review will focus on transduction mechanisms and cellular characteristics responsible for each of basic tastes, fat taste and calcium taste.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Buds / physiology*

Substances

  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled