Isolation of single taste cells from lingual epithelium

Sue C. Kinnamon, Thomas A. Cummings, Stephen D. Roper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A method is described for obtaining large numbers of isolated taste cells with identified polarity from lingual epithelium. The procedure involves incubating lingual epithelium in collagenase, staining the apical surface with fluorescein-conjugated wheat germ agglutinin (FTTC-WGA), peeling non-gustatory surface epithelium from the underlying taste buds and connective tissue, and dissociating isolated taste buds with Ca2+-free saline. Isolated taste cells retain their characteristic morphology for at least 30 min after dissociation, and the apical specialization can be identified as a single patch of fluorescence usually located at the tip of an elongate process. Isolated taste cells are amenable to study with the patch-clamp technique, and whole-cell patch-clamp recordings show that isolated taste cells have membrane properties similar to taste cells of intact lingual epithelium. Evidence is presented that FITC-WGA staining does not alter the voltage-dependent ionic currents of the taste cell membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-366
Number of pages12
JournalChemical senses
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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