Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Fat Taste Perception

Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2022;275:247-270. doi: 10.1007/164_2021_437.


During the last couples of years, a number of studies have increasingly accumulated on the gustatory perception of dietary fatty acids in rodent models and human beings in health and disease. There is still a debate to coin a specific term for the gustatory perception of dietary fatty acids either as the sixth basic taste quality or as an alimentary taste. Indeed, the psycho-physical cues of orosensory detection of dietary lipids are not as distinctly perceived as other taste qualities like sweet or bitter. The cellular and molecular pharmacological mechanisms, triggered by the binding of dietary long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) to tongue taste bud lipid receptors like CD36 and GPR120, involve Ca2+ signaling as other five basic taste qualities. We have not only elucidated the role of Ca2+ signaling but also identified different components of the second messenger cascade like STIM1 and MAP kinases, implicated in fat taste perception. We have also demonstrated the implication of Calhm1 voltage-gated channels and store-operated Ca2+ (SOC) channels like Orai1, Orai1/3, and TRPC3 in gustatory perception of dietary fatty acids. We have not only employed siRNA technology in vitro and ex vivo on tissues but also used animal models of genetic invalidation of STIM1, ERK1, Orai1, Calhm1 genes to explore their implications in fat taste signal transduction. Moreover, our laboratory has also demonstrated the importance of LCFAs detection dysfunction in obesity in animal models and human beings.

Keywords: CD36; Fat taste; Fatty acids; GPR120; Lipids; Microbiota; Obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD36 Antigens / genetics
  • CD36 Antigens / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Taste / physiology
  • Taste Buds* / metabolism
  • Taste Perception* / physiology


  • CD36 Antigens
  • Fatty Acids