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This article is part of the Research Topic Design principles of sensory receptors


Front. Cell. Neurosci., 18 June 2010 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2010.00020

Molecular and cellular designs of insect taste receptor system

  • Graduate School of Information Sciences, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

The insect gustatory receptors (GRs) are members of a large G-protein coupled receptor family distantly related to the insect olfactory receptors. They are phylogenetically different from taste receptors of most other animals. GRs are often coexpressed with other GRs in single receptor neurons. Taste receptors other than GRs are also expressed in some neurons. Recent molecular studies in the fruitfly Drosophila revealed that the insect taste receptor system not only covers a wide ligand spectrum of sugars, bitter substances or salts that are common to mammals but also includes reception of pheromone and somatosensory stimulants. However, the central mechanism to perceive and discriminate taste information is not yet elucidated. Analysis of the primary projection of taste neurons to the brain shows that the projection profiles depend basically on the peripheral locations of the neurons as well as the GRs that they express. These results suggest that both peripheral and central design principles of insect taste perception are different from those of olfactory perception.

Keywords: insect, Drosophila, gustatory receptor (GR), taste ligand, taste neuron, taste sensillum, subesophageal ganglion complex (SOG), feeding behavior

Citation: Isono K and Morita H (2010) Molecular and cellular designs of insect taste receptor system. Front. Cell. Neurosci. 4:20. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2010.00020

Received: 02 February 2010; Paper pending published: 27 February 2010;
Accepted: 16 May 2010; Published online: 18 June 2010

Edited by:

Dieter Wicher, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany

Reviewed by:

Satpal Singh, University of New York, USA
Ulf Bickmeyer, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany

Copyright: © 2010 Isono and Morita. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Kunio Isono, Graduate School of Information Sciences, Tohoku University, Aramaki, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8579, Japan. e-mail: iisono@m.tains.tohoku.ac.jp