Mojib, N., Xu, J., Bartolek, Z., Imhoff, B., McCarty, N.A., Shin, C.H., Kubanek, J. (2017) Zebrafish aversive taste co-receptor is expressed in both chemo- and mechanosensory cells and plays a role in lateral line development. Scientific Reports. 7:13475.
Fishes rely on both chemical and tactile senses to orient themselves to avoid predators, and to detect and taste food. This is likely achieved by highly coordinated reception of signals by mechano- and chemosensory receptors in fish. A small co-receptor from zebrafish, receptor activity modifying protein (RAMP)-like triterpene glycoside receptor (RL-TGR), was previously found to be involved in recognition of triterpene glycosides, a family of naturally occurring compounds that act as chemical defenses in various prey species. However, its localization, function, and how it impacts sensory organ development in vivo is not known. Here we show that RL-TGR is expressed in zebrafish in both i) apical microvilli of the chemosensory cells of taste buds including the epithelium of lips and olfactory epithelium, and ii) mechanosensory cells of neuromasts belonging to the lateral line system. Loss-of-function analyses of RL-TGR resulted in significantly decreased number of neuromasts in the posterior lateral line system and decreased body length, suggesting that RL-TGR is involved in deposition and migration of the neuromasts. Collectively, these results provide the first in vivo genetic evidence of sensory cell-specific expression of this unusual co-receptor and reveal its additional role in the lateral line development in zebrafish.