, Volume 127, Issue 4, pp 415-422
Date: 09 Jan 2007

Immunohistochemical localization of aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase in mouse taste buds and developing taste papillae

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Aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) catalyses the decarboxylation of all aromatic l-amino acids. In mammals, AADC is expressed in many tissues besides the nervous system, and is associated with additional regulatory roles of dopamine and serotonin in a wide range of tissues. We examined the expression of AADC by using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. RT-PCR analysis showed that mRNA of AADC was detected in the taste bud-containing epithelium of the circumvallate papilla of mice. By immunohistochemical analyses, AADC was detected in a subset of taste bud cells of fungiform, foliate, and circumvallate papillae. Double-label studies showed that AADC colocalized with serotonin, NCAM, PLCβ2, and PGP9.5. On the other hand, AADC never colocalized with α-gustducin. Our results of double staining with AADC and taste cell markers indicate that only the type III cells could convert 5–hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) to serotonin within taste buds. Taken together with previous studies, the properties of the type III cell of taste buds exactly fit into the APUD (amine and amine precursor uptake and decarboxylation) cell scheme. Furthermore, in the developing circumvallate papilla, AADC are first detected in a small number of papillary epithelial cells at E14.5. By E18.5, AADC-positive epithelial cells also express PGP9.5, which is one of marker of taste cells, and these cells have been contacted by developing nerve fibers. These results suggest that AADC expression begins at early stages of taste bud cell differentiation, and biogenic amines may act on taste bud differentiation of tongue epithelial cells, and further may regulate innervation of taste bud progenitor cells.