In vertebrates, the taste system provides information used in the regulation of food ingestion. In mammals, each cell group within the taste buds expresses either the T1R or the T2R taste receptor for preference–aversion discrimination. However, no such information is available regarding fish. We developed a novel system for quantitatively assaying taste preference–aversion in medaka fish. In this study, we prepared fluorescently labeled foods with fine cavities designed to retain tastants until they were bitten by the fish. The subjects were fed food containing a mixture of amino acids and inosine monophosphate (AN food), denatonium benzoate (DN food) or no tastant (NT food), and the amounts of ingested food were measured by fluorescence microscopy. Statistical analysis of the fluorescence intensities yielded quantitative measurements of AN food preference and DN food aversion. We then generated a transgenic fish expressing dominant-negative Gαi2 both in T1R-expressing and in T2R-expressing cells. The feeding assay revealed that the transgenic fish was unable to show a preference for AN food and an aversion to DN food. The assay system was useful for evaluating taste-blind behaviors, and the results indicate that the two taste signaling pathways conveying preferable and aversive taste information are conserved in fish as well as in mammals
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