1932

Abstract

Salt taste, the taste of sodium chloride (NaCl), is mechanistically one of the most complex and puzzling among basic tastes. Sodium has essential functions in the body but causes harm in excess. Thus, animals use salt taste to ingest the right amount of salt, which fluctuates by physiological needs: typically, attraction to low salt concentrations and rejection of high salt. This concentration-valence relationship is universally observed in terrestrial animals, and research has revealed complex peripheral codes for NaCl involving multiple taste pathways of opposing valence. Sodium-dependent and -independent pathways mediate attraction and aversion to NaCl, respectively. Gustatory sensors and cells that transduce NaCl have been uncovered, along with downstream signal transduction and neurotransmission mechanisms. However, much remains unknown. This article reviews classical and recent advances in our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying salt taste in mammals and insects and discusses perspectives on human salt taste.

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2023-02-10
2024-04-17
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