Expression of umami-taste-related genes in the tongue: A pilot study for genetic taste diagnosis

N. Shoji, N. Kaneta, S. Satoh-Kuriwada, Masahiro Tsuchiya, N. Hashimoto, H. Uneyama, M. Kawai, Takashi Sasano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Expression of taste-related genes in the tongue was analysed to develop a technique for genetic diagnosis of umami taste disorders. Materials and methods: Tissue samples were collected from healthy volunteers by scraping the foliate papillae of the tongue. Immunocytochemistry staining of gustducin, a taste-cell-specific G protein, and gene expression analysis by real-time polymerase chain reaction of β-actin, gustducin (GNAT3) and umami receptors (T1R1, T1R3 and mGluR1) were performed. Changes in umami receptor expression following application of umami substances onto the tongue were analysed. Results: Gustducin-positive cells were observed in the samples, indicating the presence of taste cells. Gene expression of β-actin, GNAT3, T1R1 and T1R3 was detected in all seven samples tested, while that of mGluR1 was detected in four samples. Sequence analysis by NCBI Blast showed that each polymerase chain reaction product had a 99% rate of identification of its target sequence. Stimulation of the tongue with monosodium glutamate significantly upregulated the gene expression levels of T1R1 and T1R3, indicating that this method can detect alterations in umami-related gene expression. Conclusion: Evaluation of the expression of the umami receptor genes, T1R1 and T1R3, in the tongue may be clinically useful for objective genetic diagnosis of umami taste disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-806
Number of pages6
JournalOral Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sept 1


  • Gene expression
  • Taste receptor
  • Tongue mucosa
  • Umami sensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)


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