Scanning Microscopy


Thaumatin, an intensely sweet tasting protein, was bound to colloidal gold and applied to the taste bud-bearing foliate papillae of Rhesus monkeys. Examination of thin sections of taste pores showed that gold particles were bound to merocrine secretions of Type I taste bud cells, to some cell remnants of lysed cells, and, most importantly, to small, membrane bounded blebs of cytoplasm. These blebs are thought to be shed into the pore from the tips of taste bud cell microvilli, particularly those arising from Type II cells. The binding of gold particles to microvillus tips and to the blebs suggest that this may be an important means by which taste bud cells rid themselves of taste stimulus-receptor complexes.

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