Sweet pathway

The sweet taste pathway, or sweet taste transduction, refers to the molecular mechanisms involved in detecting and perceiving sweet taste stimuli in the taste receptor cells located in the taste buds on the tongue.

The key steps in the sweet taste pathway are:

1. Sweet compounds bind to sweet taste receptors: Sweet-tasting molecules like sugars, artificial sweeteners, and certain proteins bind to G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) called sweet taste receptors on the surface of taste receptor cells.

2. G-protein activation: Binding of sweet compounds causes conformational changes in the sweet taste receptors, leading to the activation of a G-protein called gustducin.

3. Enzyme activation: The activated gustducin then activates an enzyme called phospholipase C-β2 (PLCβ2).

4. IP3 production: PLCβ2 catalyzes the breakdown of a membrane phospholipid, producing inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3).

5. Ca2+ release: IP3 binds to IP3 receptors on the endoplasmic reticulum membrane, causing the release of calcium (Ca2+) ions into the cytoplasm.

6. Depolarization: The increased intracellular Ca2+ levels lead to the opening of monovalent cation channels, resulting in the influx of Na+ ions and depolarization of the taste receptor cell.

7. Neurotransmitter release: The depolarization triggers the release of neurotransmitters like ATP, which transmit the sweet taste signal to gustatory nerves for further processing in the brain.

This pathway allows the taste receptor cells to convert the chemical signal from sweet compounds into an electrical signal that can be interpreted by the brain as the perception of sweetness.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


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