Taste is a critical sensory system for food selection and ingestion. Results obtained during the current funding period have provided intriguing new findings about how temperature is a stimulus for specific types of gustatory neurons, how sodium deprivation increase the salience of salt intake, and about behavioral responses to the taste of fat. The long-term objectives of this proposal are to investigate: (1) temperature- processing mechanisms in peripheral taste neurons and taste-temperature interaction in behavioral studies; (2) the role of aldosterone and body sodium levels as mediators for deprivation-induced changes in salt taste nerve responses; and (3) sensory processing of fat taste and the modulation of other taste stimuli by fat. These are significant unanswered questions in the field of chemosensory research that follow logically from our previous work and that will be addressed with electrophysiological and behavioral methodology developed explicitly for the purposes outlined above.
The specific aims i nclude investigating whether taste and thermal stimulation have additive effects in specific types of peripheral taste neurons and whether thermal stimulation itself elicits taste sensations in rats. We will also determine whether the TRPM8 channel is the mechanism that mediates responses to cooling in taste neurons. We also propose to investigate the effect of brief dietary sodium deprivation on taste nerve responsiveness to salt stimulation, the mechanism(s) that underlie such changes, and whether repletion of body sodium levels restores taste nerve responsiveness. Finally, we will explore taste nerve responses to fat alone and in combination with other taste stimuli, and will conduct studies to evaluate the contribution of gustatory nerves to the detection of fat taste and fat taste-mediated behaviors. Overall, this project will use single-cell and whole nerve recording to illuminate information processing of temperature, salt, and fat in peripheral taste neurons and behavioral methods to help solve the mystery of how these important stimuli mediate changes in behavior. ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-K (02))
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Davis, Barry
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Florida State University
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Torregrossa, Ann-Marie; Nikonova, Larissa; Bales, Michelle B et al. (2014) Induction of salivary proteins modifies measures of both orosensory and postingestive feedback during exposure to a tannic acid diet. PLoS One 9:e105232
Breza, Joseph M; Contreras, Robert J (2012) Anion size modulates salt taste in rats. J Neurophysiol 107:1632-48
Smith, Kimberly R; Treesukosol, Yada; Paedae, A Brennan et al. (2012) Contribution of the TRPV1 channel to salt taste quality in mice as assessed by conditioned taste aversion generalization and chorda tympani nerve responses. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 303:R1195-205
Breza, Joseph M; Contreras, Robert J (2012) Acetic acid modulates spike rate and spike latency to salt in peripheral gustatory neurons of rats. J Neurophysiol 108:2405-18
Lu, Bo; Breza, Joseph M; Nikonov, Alexandre A et al. (2012) Leptin increases temperature-dependent chorda tympani nerve responses to sucrose in mice. Physiol Behav 107:533-9
Torregrossa, Ann-Marie; Bales, Michelle B; Breza, Joseph M et al. (2012) Water restriction and fluid temperature alter preference for water and sucrose solutions. Chem Senses 37:279-92
Breza, Joseph M; Nikonov, Alexandre A; Contreras, Robert J (2010) Response latency to lingual taste stimulation distinguishes neuron types within the geniculate ganglion. J Neurophysiol 103:1771-84
Stratford, Jennifer M; Contreras, Robert J (2009) Saliva and other taste stimuli are important for gustatory processing of linoleic acid. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 297:R1162-70
Frank, Marion E; Lundy Jr, Robert F; Contreras, Robert J (2008) Cracking taste codes by tapping into sensory neuron impulse traffic. Prog Neurobiol 86:245-63
Stratford, Jennifer M; Curtis, Kathleen S; Contreras, Robert J (2008) Linoleic acid increases chorda tympani nerve responses to and behavioral preferences for monosodium glutamate by male and female rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 295:R764-72

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