Dept. Anatomy

SIU School of Medicine

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Department of Anatomy

  • Anthony Huang
    Assistant Professor
    Ph.D., National Taiwan University, 1997
    Neuroscience / Chemosensory

      Office:  Life Sciences III, Room 2069
      Laboratory:  Life Sciences III, Room 2050
      Office phone:  (618) 453-1577
      Lab phone:  (618) 453-1532


Research objectives
    Dr. Huang's lab studies neurotransmitters and signal transduction in peripheral gustatory sensory organs -- taste buds, using sophisticated anatomical and physiological methods.  We apply functional calcium imaging along with genetically-engineered biosensor cell techniques to examine signal processing in taste buds. Our lab has identified several neurotransmitters -- including serotonin (5-HT), ATP, norepinephrine (NE) -- that are secreted from taste bud cells and we have uncovered novel mechanisms for transmitter secretion.

A, micrograph of a fixed, isolated taste bud immunostained for serotonin. Two immunopositive taste cells (red) are visible in this plane of focus. B, micrograph of a Fura2-loaded (green) biosensor cell abutted against an isolated taste bud in a living preparation. (from Journal of Neuroscience 25(4): 843-847).

    Recently, we used transgenic mice expressing GFP in identified cell types.  This will allow us to identify and selectively test transmitter release from taste bud cells.  For instance, we identified gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) secreted from Presynaptic (Type III) cells.  We are learning that cell-to-cell communication between neighboring taste cells is a key event before signals are sent to the brain via primary sensory fibers.  In addition, we are exploring signal processing during sweet, bitter and sour taste stimulation.  Our lab plays a pioneering role in the exploration of taste reception and provides important information for sensory processing in human health and disease.

GABA immunostaining of an isolated, fixed taste bud from a GAD67-GFP mouse.Many GABA immunopositive taste cells express GFP (thick arrows), but some do not (thin arrows). This latter category may be Type I cells (Courtesy of Elizabeth Pereira and from PLoS ONE 6(10):e25471).

Science News and Information:
Mouse Taste Cells Discriminate Sweet and Sour Tastes by Releasing Neurotransmitters

Recent Publications

Rodriguez-Diaz R, Dando R, Huang YA, Berggren P-O, Roper SD, Caicedo A (2012) Real time detection of acetylcholine release from the human endocrine pancreas. Nature Protocols 7(6):1015-1023.

Huang YA*, Grant J*, Roper SD (2012) Glutamatergic synaptic input inhibits mouse taste buds. PLoS ONE 7(1):e30662. * These authors contributed equally.

Huang YA, Pereira E, Roper SD (2011) Sour taste stimulates GABA secretion from mouse Presynaptic (Type III) taste cells. PLoS ONE 6(10):e25471.

Huang YA, Stone LM, Pereira E, Yang R, Kinnamon JC, Dvoryanchikov G, Chaudhari N, Finger TE, Kinnamon SC, Roper SD (2011) Knocking out P2X receptors reduces transmitter secretion in taste buds. J Neurosci. 31(38):13654-13661.

Dvoryanchikov G*, Huang YA*, Barro-Soria R, Chaudhari N, Roper SD (2011) GABA, GABA receptors, and GABAergic inhibition in mouse taste buds. J Neurosci. 31(15):5782-5791. * These authors contributed equally.

Huang YA, Roper SD (2010) Intracellular Ca2+ and TRPM5-mediated membrane depolarization produce ATP secretion from taste receptor cells. J Physiol. 588(13):2343-2350.

Huang YA, Dando RP, Roper SD (2009) Autocrine and paracrine roles of ATP and Serotonin in mouse taste buds. J Neurosci. 29(44): 13909-13918.

Huang YA, Maruyama Y, Roper SD (2008) Norepinephrine is co-released with serotonin in mouse taste buds. J. Neurosci. 28(49): 13088-13093.

Huang YA, Maruyama Y, Stimac R, Roper SD (2008) Presynaptic (Type III) cells in mouse taste buds sense sour (acid) taste. J Physiol. 586: 2903-2912.

Huang YA, Maruyama Y, Dvoryanchikov G, Pereira E, Chaudhari N, Roper SD (2007) The role of pannexin 1 hemichannels in ATP release and cell-cell communication in mouse taste buds. Proc Natl Acad Sci. USA. 104(15): 6436-6441.

Huang YA, Maruyama Y, Lu KS, Pereira E, Plonsky I, Baur JE, Roper SD (2005) Mouse taste buds use serotonin as a neurotransmitter. J Neurosci. 25(4): 843-847.

Huang YA, Maruyama Y, Lu KS, Pereira E, Plonsky I, Baur JE, Roper SD (2005) Using biosensors to detect the release of serotonin from taste buds during taste stimulation. Arch Ital Biol. 143: 87-96.

Huang YA, Maruyama Y, Lu KS, Pereira E, Roper SD (2005) Mouse taste buds release serotonin in response to taste stimuli. Chem Senses Suppl 1, 30: i39-i40.

Huang YA, Wu YH, Lu KS (2003) Immunoelectron microscopic studies on protein gene product 9.5 and calcitonin gene-related peptide in vallate taste cells and related nerves in the guinea pig. Microsc Res Tech. 62: 383-395.

Huang YA, Lu KS (2001) TUNEL staining and electron microscopy studies of apoptotic changes in guinea pig vallate taste cells after unilateral glossopharyngeal denervation. Anat Embryol. 204: 493-501.

Huang YA, Lu KS (1996) Immunohistochemical studies on protein gene product 9.5, serotonin and neuropeptides in vallate taste buds and related nerves of the guinea pig. Arch Histol Cytol. 59: 433-441.

Huang YA, Lu KS (1996) Unilateral innervation of guinea pig vallate taste buds as determined by glossopharyngeal neurectomy and HRP neural tracing. J Anat. 189: 315-324.