Current understanding of functional characteristics and biochemical pathways in taste bud cells have been hindered due the lack of long-term cultured cells. To address this, we developed a holistic approach to fully characterise long term cultured bovine taste bud cells (BTBCs). Initially, cultured BTBCs were characterised using RT-PCR gene expression profiling, immunocytochemistry, flowcytometry and calcium imaging, that confirmed the cells were mature TBCs that express taste receptor genes, taste specific protein markers and capable of responding to taste stimuli, i.e., denatonium (2 mM) and quinine (462.30 μM). Gene expression analysis of forty-two genes implicated in taste transduction pathway (map04742) using custom-made RT-qPCR array revealed high and low expressed genes in BTBCs. Preliminary datamining and bioinformatics demonstrated that the bovine α-gustducin, gustatory G-protein, have higher sequence similarity to the human orthologue compared to rodents. Therefore, results from this work will replace animal experimentation and provide surrogate cell-based throughput system to study human taste transduction.
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