A proton current drives action potentials in genetically identified sour taste cells.
ABSTRACT: Five tastes have been identified, each of which is transduced by a separate set of taste cells. Of these sour, which is associated with acid stimuli, is the least understood. Genetic ablation experiments have established that sour is detected by a subset of taste cells that express the TRP channel PKD2L1 and its partner PKD1L3, however the mechanisms by which this subset of cells detects acids remain unclear. Previous efforts to understand sour taste transduction have been hindered because sour responsive cells represent only a small fraction of cells in a taste bud, and numerous ion channels with no role in sour sensing are sensitive to acidic pH. To identify acid-sensitive conductances unique to sour cells, we created genetically modified mice in which sour cells were marked by expression of YFP under the control of the PKD2L1 promoter. To measure responses to sour stimuli we developed a method in which suction electrode recording is combined with UV photolysis of NPE-caged proton. Using these methods, we report that responses to sour stimuli are not mediated by Na(+) permeable channels as previously thought, but instead are mediated by a proton conductance specific to PKD2L1-expressing taste cells. This conductance is sufficient to drive action potential firing in response to acid stimuli, is enriched in the apical membrane of PKD2L1-expressing taste cells and is not affected by targeted deletion of the PKD1L3 gene. We conclude that, during sour transduction, protons enter through an apical proton conductance to directly depolarize the taste cell membrane.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The perception of sour taste in humans is incompletely understood at the receptor cell level. We report here on two patients with an acquired sour ageusia. Each patient was unresponsive to sour stimuli, but both showed normal responses to bitter, sweet, and salty stimuli. METHODS AND FINDINGS:Lingual fungiform papillae, containing taste cells, were obtained by biopsy from the two patients, and from three sour-normal individuals, and analyzed by RT-PCR. The following transcripts were undetectable in the patients, even after 50 cycles of amplification, but readily detectable in the sour-normal subjects: acid sensing ion channels (ASICs) 1a, 1beta, 2a, 2b, and 3; and polycystic kidney disease (PKD) channels PKD1L3 and PKD2L1. Patients and sour-normals expressed the taste-related phospholipase C-beta2, the delta-subunit of epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) and the bitter receptor T2R14, as well as beta-actin. Genomic analysis of one patient, using buccal tissue, did not show absence of the genes for ASIC1a and PKD2L1. Immunohistochemistry of fungiform papillae from sour-normal subjects revealed labeling of taste bud cells by antibodies to ASICs 1a and 1beta, PKD2L1, phospholipase C-beta2, and delta-ENaC. An antibody to PKD1L3 labeled tissue outside taste bud cells. CONCLUSIONS:These data suggest a role for ASICs and PKDs in human sour perception. This is the first report of sour ageusia in humans, and the very existence of such individuals ("natural knockouts") suggests a cell lineage for sour that is independent of the other taste modalities.
Project description:Animals use their gustatory systems to evaluate the nutritious value, toxicity, sodium content, and acidity of food. Although characterization of molecular identities that receive taste chemicals is essential, molecular receptors underlying sour taste sensation remain unclear. Here, we show that two transient receptor potential (TRP) channel members, PKD1L3 and PKD2L1, are coexpressed in a subset of taste receptor cells in specific taste areas. Cells expressing these molecules are distinct from taste cells having receptors for bitter, sweet, or umami tastants. The PKD2L1 proteins are accumulated at the taste pore region, where taste chemicals are detected. PKD1L3 and PKD2L1 proteins can interact with each other, and coexpression of the PKD1L3 and PKD2L1 is necessary for their functional cell surface expression. Finally, PKD1L3 and PKD2L1 are activated by various acids when coexpressed in heterologous cells but not by other classes of tastants. These results suggest that PKD1L3 and PKD2L1 heteromers may function as sour taste receptors.
Project description:Ligand-gated ion channels are important in sensory and synaptic transduction. The PKD1L3-PKD2L1 channel complex is a sour taste receptor candidate that is activated by acids. Here, we report that the proton-activated PKD1L3-PKD2L1 ion channels have the unique ability to be activated after the removal of an acid stimulus. We refer to this property as the off-response (previously described as a delayed response). Electrophysiological analyses show that acid-induced responses are observed only after the removal of an acid solution at less than pH 3.0. A small increase in pH is sufficient for PKD1L3-PKD2L1 channel activation, after exposure to an acid at pH 2.5. These results indicate that this channel is a new type of ion channel-designated as an 'off-channel'-which is activated during stimulus application but not gated open until the removal of the stimulus. The off-response property of PKD1L3-PKD2L1 channels might explain the physiological phenomena occurring during sour taste sensation.
Project description:Five basic tastes (bitter, sweet, umami, salty, and sour) are detected in the four taste areas where taste buds reside. Although molecular mechanisms for detecting bitter, sweet, and umami have been well clarified, those for sour and salty remain poorly understood. Several channels including acid-sensing ion channels have been proposed as candidate sour receptors, but they do not encompass all sour-sensing abilities in vivo. We recently reported a novel candidate for sour sensing, the polycystic kidney disease-2-like 1 (PKD2L1)-PKD1L3 channel complex. This channel is not a traditional ligand-gated channel and is gated open only after removal of an acid stimulus, called an off response. Here we show that off responses upon acid stimulus are clearly observed in native taste cells from circumvallate, but not fungiform papillae, of glutamate decarboxylase 67-green fluorescent protein (GAD67-GFP) knock-in mice, from which Type III taste cells can be visualized, using Ca(2+) imaging and patch clamp methods. Off responses were detected in most cells where PKD2L1 immunoreactivity was observed. Interestingly, the pH threshold for acid-evoked intracellular Ca(2+) increase was around 5.0, a value much higher than that observed in HEK293 cells expressing the PKD2L1-PKD1L3 complex. Thus, PKD2L1-PKD1L3-mediated acid-evoked off responses occurred both in HEK293 cells and in native taste cells, suggesting the involvement of the PKD2L1-PKD1L3 complex in acid sensing in vivo.
Project description:The ability to sense sour provides an important sensory signal to prevent the ingestion of unripe, spoiled or fermented foods. Taste and somatosensory receptors in the oral cavity trigger aversive behaviors in response to acid stimuli. Here we show that the ion channel Otopetrin-1, a proton-selective channel normally involved in the sensation of gravity in the vestibular system, is essential for sour-sensing in the taste system. We demonstrate that a knockout of Otop1 eliminates acid responses from sour-sensing taste-receptor-cells (TRCs). In addition, we show that mice engineered to express otopetrin-1 in sweet TRCs now have sweet cells that also respond to sour stimuli. Next, we genetically identified the taste ganglion neurons mediating each of the five basic taste qualities, and demonstrate that sour taste uses its own dedicated labeled line from TRCs in the tongue to finely tuned taste neurons in the brain to trigger aversive behaviors. Overall design: (1) Geniculate ganglion single cell sequencing. Previously our lab showed that the different taste qualities are mediated by dedicated TRCs tuned to individual tastes and innervated by dedicated ganglion neurons tuned to matching taste qualities (Barretto et al., 2015; Lee et al., 2017). We performed single cell RNA-seq on 800 neurons from the geniculate ganglion of P2rx3-tdTomato animals. We classified 454 neurons as expressing Phox2b, a marker for sensory neurons (D'Autreaux et al., 2011). From this dataset, we performed t-distributed stochastic neighboring embedding analysis (tSNE) to identify and visualize their distribution into different neuronal groups. Our results revealed 5 distinct clusters each potentially defining one of the five basic taste qualities, and 2 putative somatosensory clusters characterized by high levels of expression of the mechanosensory channel Piezo2. (2) Sour taste receptor cell bulk and single cell sequencing. To identify candidate sour taste receptors, we molecularly characterized the repertoire of genes expressed in sour (Pkd2l1-expressing) taste cells using a combination of bulk and single-cell RNA sequencing. We performed these sequencing experiments from animals expressing the tdTomato reporter in Pkd2l1-expressing taste cells and also carried out bulk RNA sequencing from “non-sour” TRCs and surrounding tongue epithelia to search for genes preferentially expressed in sour versus other classes of cells in the tongue.
Project description:The transient receptor potential channel, PKD2L1, is reported to be a candidate receptor for sour taste based on molecular biological and functional studies. Here, we investigated the expression pattern of PKD2L1-immunoreactivity (IR) in taste buds of the mouse. PKD2L1-IR is present in a few elongate cells in each taste bud as reported previously. The PKD2L1-expressing cells are different from those expressing PLCbeta2, a marker of Type II cells. Likewise PKD2L1-immunoreactive taste cells do not express ecto-ATPase which marks Type I cells. The PKD2L1-positive cells are immunoreactive for neural cell adhesion molecule, serotonin, PGP-9.5 (ubiquitin carboxy-terminal transferase), and chromogranin A, all of which are present in Type III taste cells. At the ultrastructural level, PKD2L1-immunoreactive cells form synapses onto afferent nerve fibers, another feature of Type III taste cells. These results are consistent with the idea that different taste cells in each taste bud perform distinct functions. We suggest that Type III cells are necessary for transduction and/or transmission of information about "sour", but have little or no role in transmission of taste information of other taste qualities.
Project description:Chemotherapy-induced taste disorder is one of the critical issues in cancer therapy. Bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, is a key agent in multiple myeloma therapy, but it induces a taste disorder. In this study, we investigated the characteristics of bortezomib-induced taste disorder and the underlying mechanism in mice. Among the five basic tastes, the sour taste sensitivity of mice was significantly increased by bortezomib administration. In bortezomib-administered mice, protein expression of PKD2L1 was increased. The increased sour taste sensitivity induced by bortezomib returned to the control level on cessation of its administration. These results suggest that an increase in protein expression of PKD2L1 enhances the sour taste sensitivity in bortezomib-administered mice, and this alteration is reversed on cessation of its administration.
Project description:Sour taste is detected by a subset of taste cells on the tongue and palate epithelium that respond to acids with trains of action potentials. Entry of protons through a Zn(2+)-sensitive proton conductance that is specific to sour taste cells has been shown to be the initial event in sour taste transduction. Whether this conductance acts in concert with other channels sensitive to changes in intracellular pH, however, is not known. Here, we show that intracellular acidification generates excitatory responses in sour taste cells, which can be attributed to block of a resting K(+) current. We identify KIR2.1 as the acid-sensitive K(+) channel in sour taste cells using pharmacological and RNA expression profiling and confirm its contribution to sour taste with tissue-specific knockout of the Kcnj2 gene. Surprisingly, acid sensitivity is not conferred on sour taste cells by the specific expression of Kir2.1, but by the relatively small magnitude of the current, which makes the cells exquisitely sensitive to changes in intracellular pH. Consistent with a role of the K(+) current in amplifying the sensory response, entry of protons through the Zn(2+)-sensitive conductance produces a transient block of the KIR2.1 current. The identification in sour taste cells of an acid-sensitive K(+) channel suggests a mechanism for amplification of sour taste and may explain why weak acids that produce intracellular acidification, such as acetic acid, taste more sour than strong acids.
Project description:The sense of taste allows animals to sample chemicals in the environment prior to ingestion. Of the five basic tastes, sour, the taste of acids, had remained among the most mysterious. Acids are detected by type III taste receptor cells (TRCs), located in taste buds across the tongue and palate epithelium. The first step in sour taste transduction is believed to be entry of protons into the cell cytosol, which leads to cytosolic acidification and the generation of action potentials. The proton-selective ion channel Otop1 is expressed in type III TRCs and is a candidate sour receptor. Here, we tested the contribution of Otop1 to taste cell and gustatory nerve responses to acids in mice in which Otop1 was genetically inactivated (Otop1-KO mice). We first show that Otop1 is required for the inward proton current in type III TRCs from different parts of the tongue that are otherwise molecularly heterogeneous. We next show that in type III TRCs from Otop1-KO mice, intracellular pH does not track with extracellular pH and that moderately acidic stimuli do not elicit trains of action potentials, as they do in type III TRCs from wild-type mice. Moreover, gustatory nerve responses in Otop1-KO mice were severely and selectively attenuated for acidic stimuli, including citric acid and HCl. These results establish that the Otop1 proton channel plays a critical role in acid detection in the mouse gustatory system, evidence that it is a bona fide sour taste receptor.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Taste bud cells transmit information regarding the contents of food from taste receptors embedded in apical microvilli to gustatory nerve fibers innervating basolateral membranes. In particular, taste cells depolarize, activate voltage-gated sodium channels, and fire action potentials in response to tastants. Initial cell depolarization is attributable to sodium influx through TRPM5 in sweet, bitter, and umami cells and an undetermined cation influx through an ion channel in sour cells expressing PKD2L1, a candidate sour taste receptor. The molecular identity of the voltage-gated sodium channels that sense depolarizing signals and subsequently initiate action potentials coding taste information to gustatory nerve fibers is unknown. RESULTS:We describe the molecular and histological expression profiles of cation channels involved in electrical signal transmission from apical to basolateral membrane domains. TRPM5 was positioned immediately beneath tight junctions to receive calcium signals originating from sweet, bitter, and umami receptor activation, while PKD2L1 was positioned at the taste pore. Using mouse taste bud and lingual epithelial cells collected by laser capture microdissection, SCN2A, SCN3A, and SCN9A voltage-gated sodium channel transcripts were expressed in taste tissue. SCN2A, SCN3A, and SCN9A were expressed beneath tight junctions in subsets of taste cells. SCN3A and SCN9A were expressed in TRPM5 cells, while SCN2A was expressed in TRPM5 and PKD2L1 cells. HCN4, a gene previously implicated in sour taste, was expressed in PKD2L1 cells and localized to cell processes beneath the taste pore. CONCLUSION:SCN2A, SCN3A and SCN9A voltage-gated sodium channels are positioned to sense initial depolarizing signals stemming from taste receptor activation and initiate taste cell action potentials. SCN2A, SCN3A and SCN9A gene products likely account for the tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium currents in taste receptor cells.