Expression of insulin and its receptor (IR) in rodent taste cells has been proposed, but exactly which types of taste cells express IR and the function of insulin signaling in taste organ have yet to be determined. In this study, we analyzed expression of IR mRNA and protein in mouse taste bud cells in vivo and explored its function ex vivo in organoids, using RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, and quantitative PCR. In mouse taste tissue, IR was expressed broadly in taste buds, including in type II and III taste cells. With using 3-D taste bud organoids, we found insulin in the culture medium significantly decreased the number of taste cell and mRNA expression levels of many taste cell genes, including nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase-2 (NTPDase2), Tas1R3 (T1R3), gustducin, carbonic anhydrase 4 (CA4), glucose transporter-8 (GLUT8), and sodium-glucose cotransporter-1 (SGLT1) in a concentration-dependent manner. Rapamycin, an inhibitor of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, diminished insulin’s effects and increase taste cell generation. Altogether, circulating insulin might be an important regulator of taste cell growth and/or proliferation via activation of the mTOR pathway.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)