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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Immunocytochemical evidence for co-expression of Type III IP3 receptor with signaling components of bitter taste transduction

Tod R Clapp1*, Leslie M Stone1, Robert F Margolskee2 and Sue C Kinnamon1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523 and the Rocky Mountain Taste and Smell Center, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO 80262, USA

2 Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine of New York University, Box 1677, 1425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10029, USA

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BMC Neuroscience 2001, 2:6  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-2-6

Published: 23 April 2001



Taste receptor cells are responsible for transducing chemical stimuli into electrical signals that lead to the sense of taste. An important second messenger in taste transduction is IP3, which is involved in both bitter and sweet transduction pathways. Several components of the bitter transduction pathway have been identified, including the T2R/TRB taste receptors, phospholipase C β2, and the G protein subunits α-gustducin, β3, and γ13. However, the identity of the IP3 receptor subtype in this pathway is not known. In the present study we used immunocytochemistry on rodent taste tissue to identify the IP3 receptors expressed in taste cells and to examine taste bud expression patterns for IP3R3.


Antibodies against Type I, II, and III IP3 receptors were tested on sections of rat and mouse circumvallate papillae. Robust cytoplasmic labeling for the Type III IP3 receptor (IP3R3) was found in a large subset of taste cells in both species. In contrast, little or no immunoreactivity was seen with antibodies against the Type I or Type II IP3 receptors. To investigate the potential role of IP3R3 in bitter taste transduction, we used double-label immunocytochemistry to determine whether IP3R3 is expressed in the same subset of cells expressing other bitter signaling components. IP3R3 immunoreactive taste cells were also immunoreactive for PLCβ2 and γ13. Alpha-gustducin immunoreactivity was present in a subset of IP3R3, PLCβ2, and γ13 positive cells.


IP3R3 is the dominant form of the IP3 receptor expressed in taste cells and our data suggest it plays an important role in bitter taste transduction.