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Satb2 neurons in the parabrachial nucleus mediate taste perception

Nature Communications_1

Authors: Brooke C. Jarvie, Jane Y. Chen, Hunter O. King, Richard D. Palmiter
Publication: Nature Communications
Date: January 11, 2021
Link to article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-20100-8


The neural circuitry mediating taste has been mapped out from the periphery to the cortex, but genetic identity of taste-responsive neurons has remained elusive. Here, we describe a population of neurons in the gustatory region of the parabrachial nucleus that express the transcription factor Satb2 and project to taste-associated regions, including the gustatory thalamus and insular cortex. Using calcium imaging in awake, freely licking mice, we show that Satb2 neurons respond to the five basic taste modalities. Optogenetic activation of these neurons enhances taste preferences, whereas chronic inactivation decreases the magnitude of taste preferences in both brief- and long-access taste tests. Simultaneous inactivation of Satb2 and calcitonin gene-related peptide neurons in the PBN abolishes responses to aversive tastes. These data suggest that taste information in the parabrachial nucleus is conveyed by multiple populations of neurons, including both Satb2 and calcitonin gene-related peptide neurons.

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