SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
Advillin Genetically Identifies a Subset of Taste Neurons and Type II Receptor Cells
Jennifer Xu1 & Robin F. Krimm2
1dupont Manual High School, Louisville, KY, United States
2Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, United States

Advillin-Cre gene recombination is commonly used within the somatosensory field to target and isolate peripheral sensory neurons for both identification and gene manipulation. It has also been used in the taste system, but lack of characterization makes it unclear which cells are influenced by Cre mediated recombination. This project utilizes an Advillin-Cre mouse model to characterize Advillin-Cre expression in taste receptor cells and geniculate ganglion neurons. Using a standard immunohistochemistry procedure with antibodies labeling for dsRed in Advillin-Cre:tdTomato mice, we found that approximately 74% to 95% of taste buds contained Advillin-Cre positive innervation (n=2 mice; 40 taste buds/mouse). All taste buds analyzed had Advillin expression within some taste receptor cells. Whole-mount analysis in Advillin-Cre:tdTomato mice, co-labeled with PLCβ2 and Car4 revealed that 62±6% of PLCβ2+ taste receptor cells were Advillin-positive (n=2 mice; 80 taste buds/mice). Car4+ receptor cells lacked Advillin. Chorda tympani nerve labeling in Advillin-Cre:tdTomato mice revealed that one-third of neurons innervating the tongue underwent gene recombination (n=5). We are currently tracing Advillin-positive fibers that enter the taste bud to determine if they have a unique morphology or if they come in contact with a specific receptor cell type.  Preliminary data indicate that Advillin-positive fibers come in contact with both Car4-positive and PLCβ2-positive taste receptor cells. In conclusion, Advillin-Cre expression defines a subtype of PLCβ2 taste receptor cells and a subset of taste neurons. Therefore, this animal is useful tool for gene recombination in both receptor cells and neuronal subpopulations, but can not be used to remove genes in all cells of either population.