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TRPM5, a taste-signaling transient receptor potential ion-channel, is a ubiquitous signaling component in chemosensory cells

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-8-49

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Here, we systematically investigated the expression of TRPM5 in rat and mouse tissues. Apart from taste buds, where we found TRPM5 to be predominantly localized on the basolateral surface of taste receptor cells, TRPM5 immunoreactivity was seen in other chemosensory organs – the main olfactory epithelium and the vomeronasal organ. Most strikingly, we found solitary TRPM5-enriched epithelial cells in all parts of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. Based on their tissue distribution, the low cell density, morphological features and co-immunostaining with different epithelial markers, we identified these cells as brush cells (also known as tuft, fibrillovesicular, multivesicular or caveolated cells). In terms of morphological characteristics, brush cells resemble taste receptor cells, while their origin and biological role are still under intensive debate.We consider TRPM5 to be an intrinsic signaling component of mammalian chemosensory organs, and provide evidence for brush cells being an important cellular correlate in the periphery.Transient receptor potential (TRP) proteins form a large gene family of ion channels characterized by distinct activation mechanisms and biophysical properties. By sequence homology, members of the family fall into six subfamilies (TRPC, TRPV, TRPM, TRPML, TRPP, and TRPA). There is mounting evidence that TRP channels are involved in thermosensation, mechanosensation, smell and taste. A subset of TRP channels, called 'thermo-TRPs' (TRPV1-TRPV4, TRPA1 and TRPM8), have been found to be highly temperature dependent and are directly involved in heat and cold sensation in the peripheral nervous system [1]. Several TRP channels are mechanosensitive or activated by hypotonic challenge (TRPV4, TRPA1, TRPM3, PKD1 and TRPP2) [2]. TRPC2 is specifically expressed in the rodent sensory epithelium of the vomeronasal organ (VNO) where it plays a critical role in signaling processes triggered by pheromones [3,4]. More recently, evidence was obtai


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