Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is required for the transmission of all taste qualities from taste cells to afferent nerve fibers. ATP is released from Type II taste cells by a nonvesicular mechanism and activates purinergic receptors containing P2X2 and P2X3 on nerve fibers. Several ATP release channels are expressed in taste cells including CALHM1, Pannexin 1, Connexin 30, and Connexin 43, but whether all are involved in ATP release is not clear. We have used a global Pannexin 1 knock out (Panx1 KO) mouse in a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments. Our results confirm that Panx1 channels are absent in taste buds of the knockout mice and that other known ATP release channels are not upregulated. Using a luciferin/luciferase assay, we show that circumvallate taste buds from Panx1 KO mice normally release ATP upon taste stimulation compared with wild type (WT) mice. Gustatory nerve recordings in response to various tastants applied to the tongue and brief-access behavioral testing with SC45647 also show no difference between Panx1 KO and WT. These results confirm that Panx1 is not required for the taste evoked release of ATP or for neural and behavioral responses to taste stimuli.
Keywords: ATP; gustatory; mouse; taste buds.
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