Although sweet, bitter and umami (monosodium glutamate) tastes are different, researchers are finding that information about each of these tastes is transmitted from the various taste receptors via a common intracellular signaling pathway.
The identification of a common pathway runs counter to widespread belief among some researchers in the taste field who have long held the view that the different tastes require distinct machinery within the cell to transduce their signals to the brain, which is responsible for processing taste perceptions.
The discovery also opens the way for more precise genetic manipulation of taste sensations in laboratory animals to discover how different tastes are perceived in the brain, according to Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Charles Zuker, who is at the University of California, San Diego.
Jim Keeley | Howard Hughes Medical Institute
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