The characterization of molecular mechanisms underlying the taste-sensing system of chickens will add to our understanding of their feeding behaviors in poultry farming. In the mammalian taste system, the heterodimer of taste receptor type 1 members 1/3 (T1R1/T1R3) functions as an umami (amino acid) taste receptor. Here, we analyzed the expression patterns of T1R1 and T1R3 in the taste cells of chickens, labeled by the molecular markers for chicken taste buds (vimentin and α-gustducin). We observed that α-gustducin was expressed in some of the chicken T1R3-positive taste bud cells but rarely expressed in the T1R1-positive and T2R7-positive taste bud cells. These results raise the possibility that there is another second messenger signaling system in chicken taste sensory cells. We also observed that T1R3 and α-gustducin were expressed mostly in the vimentin-positive taste bud cells, whereas T1R1 and bitter taste receptor (i.e., taste receptor type 2 member 7, T2R7) were expressed largely in the vimentin-negative taste bud cells in chickens. In addition, we observed that T1R1 and T1R3 were co-expressed in about 5% of chickens' taste bud cells, which express T1R1 or T1R3. These results suggest that the heterodimer of T1R1 and T1R3 is rarely formed in chickens’ taste bud cells, and they provide comparative insights into the expressional regulation of taste receptors in the taste bud cells of vertebrates.
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