Sensory perception of salty taste

Stable Identifier
Homo sapiens
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Initially, type I taste bud cells were suggested to be responsible for tasting low concentrations of salt, however a subset of type II taste bud cells are now thought to be responsible (Nomura et al. 2020). The identity of salt-tasting cells remains a subject of current research. The ability to taste low concentrations of salt is at least partially due to an amiloride-sensitive sodium channel believed to be an SCNN channel (ENaC channel). SCNN complexes contain the pore-forming subunit SCNN1A or SCNN1D, and the modulatory subunits SCNN1B and SCNN1G, all of which have been detected in human taste buds (Rossier et al. 2004, Stähler et al. 2008). Knockout of SCNN1A in mice abolished amiloride-sensitive salt taste and attraction to low concentrations of salt, however SCNN1B and SCNN1G do not colocalize with SCNN1A in taste cells of mice (Lossow et al. 2020), raising the question of the subunit composition of the SCNN complex. SCNN1D is present in human taste cells but not in mouse taste cells.
In humans, a SCNN channel containing SCNN1A or SCNN1D located in the plasma membrane is believed to transport sodium ions from the extracellular region into the cytosol, resulting in depolarization that causes CALHM1:CALHM3 channels to open and release ATP, a neurotransmitter, from the cytosol to the extracellular region.
Literature References
PubMed ID Title Journal Year
20033988 A sodium channel gene SCN9A polymorphism that increases nociceptor excitability

Harty, TP, Choi, JS, Estacion, M, Dib-Hajj, SD, Waxman, SG, Tyrrell, L

Ann Neurol 2009
32344597 Does ENaC Work as Sodium Taste Receptor in Humans?

Bigiani, A

Nutrients 2020
25559847 The taste of table salt

Roper, SD

Pflugers Arch 2015
32006019 Segregated Expression of ENaC Subunits in Taste Cells

Meyerhof, W, Lossow, K, Behrens, M, Hermans-Borgmeyer, I

Chem Senses 2020
32229307 All-Electrical Ca2+-Independent Signal Transduction Mediates Attractive Sodium Taste in Taste Buds

Iwata, K, Ishidate, F, Taruno, A, Nomura, K, Nakanishi, M

Neuron 2020
14752036 Analysis of a human fungiform papillae cDNA library and identification of taste-related genes

Rossier, O, Huque, T, Spielman, AI, Medrano, JF, Feldman, RS, Cao, J, Brand, JG, le Coutre, J

Chem Senses 2004
  A Role of the Epithelial Sodium Channel in Human Salt Taste Transduction?

Raab, B, Hofmann, T, Neumann, K, Meyerhof, W, Behrens, M, Demgensky, S, Stähler, F, Riedel, K, Raguse, JD, Täubert, A, Dunkel, A

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