AChems Press Release

Lightly salted: optogenetic identification of a salt-sensing taste cell

Light stimulation of a genetically modified taste-bud cell induces salt taste in mice.

The taste of salt is a fundamental part of our dietary experience, but which taste-bud cell detects sodium? To find out, a candidate taste-bud cell (Type-1) was genetically modified to respond to both sodium and blue light. Neural recordings from the brainstem, which process taste, responded to both light and sodium. Lastly, sodium-deprived mice strongly prefer saline to tap water. When mice with the light-sensitive tongue were sodium-deprived and given a choice to drink either water or water illuminated with blue light they strongly preferred the blue water. Our work strongly indicates that Type-1 taste bud cells are responsible for sodium detection (contact Dr. Joseph Breza; [email protected]; +1 734-487-1287)

The poster presentation “Optogenetic Activation Of Type-1 Cells In Fungiform Papillae Preferentially Activates Nacl-Best Neurons And Drives Consumption Of “Blue” Water In Na+-Deprived Mice” (#P238) takes place Wednesday, 18 April, 9:00 – 11:00 pm ET in the Estero Ballroom.

Full author list: Martin A. Raymond, Caitlin Baumer, Thomas G. Mast, Joseph M. Breza