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Human Taste Sensation can now be Investigated on a Molecular Level

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014
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SIRION Biotech provides adenovirus to transduce proliferation-promoting genes to viable human taste cells from fungiform papillae.

Chemical Senses by Oxford University Press posted a publication this week regarding stably proliferating taste bud cell lines for the study of the molecular mechanism of taste sensation. 

Researchers from near Frankfurt and Munich identified HTC-8 cells expressing bitter taste receptor genes. Bitter tastants triggered functionally distinct signaling pathways in such HTC-8 cells. SIRION Biotech was critical in generating adenovirus that helped transducing human taste cells such that they proliferate and maintain taste cell-specific properties and authentic responsiveness to taste stimuli.

Obtaining such proliferating taste cell lines has in the past been hampered by the fact that taste cells are functionally specialized cells with limited life span and no proliferative potential, which are embedded in the context of a taste bud. This group of researchers delivers hTERT and BMI1 via adenovirus and obtains stably proliferating cell lines, which originated from individual cells and were expanded separately.

With cell lines stable for more than 25 passages the group could investigate expression of taste reception and signal transduction genes and measure endogenous responses to chemical stimuli in cell-based assays. They found that HTC-8 cells express 13 of 25 human TAS2R bitter taste receptor genes.

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