Endocrinol Metab.  2021 Jun;36(3):469-477. 10.3803/EnM.2021.302.

Recent Advances in Understanding Peripheral Taste Decoding I: 2010 to 2020

  • 1BK21 Graduate Program, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Pharmacology, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Biomedical Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 5Department of Oral Biology, BK21 FOUR Project, Yonsei University College of Dentistry, Seoul, Korea


Taste sensation is the gatekeeper for direct decisions on feeding behavior and evaluating the quality of food. Nutritious and beneficial substances such as sugars and amino acids are represented by sweet and umami tastes, respectively, whereas noxious substances and toxins by bitter or sour tastes. Essential electrolytes including Na+ and other ions are recognized by the salty taste. Gustatory information is initially generated by taste buds in the oral cavity, projected into the central nervous system, and finally processed to provide input signals for food recognition, regulation of metabolism and physiology, and higher-order brain functions such as learning and memory, emotion, and reward. Therefore, understanding the peripheral taste system is fundamental for the development of technologies to regulate the endocrine system and improve whole-body metabolism. In this review article, we introduce previous widely-accepted views on the physiology and genetics of peripheral taste cells and primary gustatory neurons, and discuss key findings from the past decade that have raised novel questions or solved previously raised questions.


Taste; Taste buds; Geniculate ganglion; Synaptic transmission; Signal transduction; Hormones
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