Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.

Subscribe

Sci. Signal., 20 October 2009
Vol. 2, Issue 93, p. ec340
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.293ec340]

EDITORS' CHOICE

Neuroscience Gee Fizz

L. Bryan Ray

Science, Science Signaling, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA

The next time you enjoy a carbonated beverage, you can do so with an enhanced understanding of the molecular mechanism that provides its distinctive flavor sensation. Chandrashekar et al. genetically ablated specific sets of taste cells in mice and found that the sensation of CO2 was lost in animals lacking taste cells that sense sour flavors. A screen for genes specifically expressed in these cells revealed the gene encoding carbonic anhydrase 4, which catalyzes hydration of CO2 to form bicarbonate and free protons. Knockout animals not expressing the carbonic anhydrase 4 gene also showed diminished sensation of CO2. The protons produced by the enzyme appear to be the actual molecules sensed by the sour-sensitive cells. This process, combined with tactile sensations, appears to be the source of the popular fizzy sensation.

J. Chandrashekar, D. Yarmolinsky, L. von Buchholtz, Y. Oka, W. Sly, N. J. P. Ryba, C. S. Zuker, The taste of carbonation. Science 326, 443–445 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: L. B. Ray, Gee Fizz. Sci. Signal. 2, ec340 (2009).


To Advertise     Find Products


Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882