Chemosensory receptors are expressed primarily in sensory organs, but their expression elsewhere can permit ligand detection in other contexts that contribute to survival. The ability of sweet taste receptors to detect natural sugars, sugar alcohols, and artificial sweeteners suggests sweet taste receptors are involved in metabolic regulation in both peripheral organs and in the central nervous system. Our limited knowledge of sweet taste receptor expression in the brain, however, has made it difficult to assess their contribution to metabolic regulation. We, therefore, decided to profile the expression pattern of T1R2, a subunit specific to the sweet taste receptor complex, at the whole-brain level. Using T1r2-Cre knock-in mice, we visualized the overall distribution of Cre-labeled cells in the brain. T1r2-Cre is expressed not only in various populations of neurons, but also in glial populations in the circumventricular organs and in vascular structures in the cortex, thalamus, and striatum. Using immunohistochemistry, we found that T1r2 is expressed in hypothalamic neurons expressing neuropeptide Y and proopiomelanocortin in arcuate nucleus. It is also co-expressed with a canonical taste signaling molecule in perivascular cells of the median eminence. Our findings indicate that sweet taste receptors have unidentified functions in the brain and suggest that they may be a novel therapeutic target in the central nervous system.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2016R1A5A2008630 to SM and NRF-2019R1C1C1006751 and NRF-2020R1A4A3078962 to YJ), by the Korean Fund for Regenerative Medicine (KFRM) grant funded by the Korean Government (the Ministry of Health and Welfare; 21C0712L1-11 to YJ), and by a Korean University Grant (K1925091).
© Copyright © 2021 Jang, Kim, Seo, Ki, Park, Choi, Kim, Moon and Jeong.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience