Distribution of Taste Receptors in Submandibular and von Ebner Salivary Glands

  • Jun, Yong-Ku (Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, College of Dentistry, Kangnung National University) ;
  • Kim, Se-Nyun (Department of Pharmacology and Mechnism, Research Institute, Oscotec Inc.) ;
  • Lee, Cil-Han (Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, College of Dentistry, Kangnung National University) ;
  • Cho, Young-Kyung (Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, College of Dentistry, Kangnung National University) ;
  • Chung, Ki-Myung (Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, College of Dentistry, Kangnung National University) ;
  • Roper, Stephen D. (Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami) ;
  • Kim, Kyung-Nyun (Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, College of Dentistry, Kangnung National University)
  • Published : 2008.03.31


Taste is a critically important sense for the survival of an organism. However, structure and distribution of taste receptors were only recently investigated. Although expression of the ion channels responsible for the sense of salty taste and acidity was observed in the non-taste cells, receptors for sweet and bitter taste were only identified in taste cells. Salivary glands are involved in the sensing of taste and plays important roles in the transduction of taste. The purpose of this study is to examine whether taste receptors are present in the salivary glands and to provide clues for the investigation of the taste-salivary glands interaction. Using microarray and RT-PCR analyses, the presence of taste receptor mRNAs in the rat von Ebner gland and submandibular gland was confirmed. Type I taste receptors were preferentially expressed in von Ebner gland, whereas type II taste receptors were expressed in both von Ebner gland and submandibular gland. The tastespecific signal tranducing proteins, $G_{\alpha}gustducin$ and phospholipase C ${\beta}2$, were also detected in both salivary glands by immunohistochemistry. Finally, the activation of the calcium signal in response to bitter taste in the acinar cells was also observed. Taken together, these results suggest that taste receptors are present in the von Ebner gland and submandibular gland and that type II taste receptors are functionally active in both salivary glands.



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