SatB2-Expressing Neurons in the Parabrachial Nucleus Encode Sweet Taste

Cell Rep. 2019 May 7;27(6):1650-1656.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.04.040.


The gustatory system plays an important role in sensing appetitive and aversive tastes for evaluating food quality. In mice, taste signals are relayed by multiple brain regions, including the parabrachial nucleus (PBN) of the pons, before reaching the gustatory cortex via the gustatory thalamus. Recent studies show that taste information at the periphery is encoded in a labeled-line manner, such that each taste modality has its own receptors and neuronal pathway. In contrast, the molecular identity of gustatory neurons in the CNS remains unknown. Here, we show that SatB2-expressing neurons in the PBN play a pivotal role in sweet taste transduction. With cell ablation, in vivo calcium imaging, and optogenetics, we reveal that SatB2PBN neurons encode positive valance and selectively transmit sweet taste signals to the gustatory thalamus.

Keywords: SatB2; optogenetics; parabrachial nucleus; positive valence; taste.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Matrix Attachment Region Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Parabrachial Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Taste*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2 / metabolism


  • Matrix Attachment Region Binding Proteins
  • SATB2 protein, mouse
  • Slc17a6 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2