Why mosquitoes love us Knowing Neurons

Why Mosquitoes Love Us

From that evil itch on your arm to torturous diseases such as malaria, Zika, dengue, and yellow fever, mosquito bites can have unpleasant consequences. But have you ever wondered why those skin-diving insects are so good at detecting humans? Not so surprisingly, the answer lies in neuroscience — in a special field called chemosensation, the sensing of chemical stimuli.Continue reading

New Ion Channel Identified for the Neurotransmission of Sweet, Bitter, and Umami Tastes

Take a moment to think about how amazing it is that we can taste so many flavors in the meals we eat!  Approximately ten thousand taste buds located on the surface of your tongue detect the five basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami.  Each taste bud contains three different types of elongated taste cells (Type I, Type II, and Type III).  Each of these sensory neurons has a different mechanism for transducing a specific taste signal to the brain.  Type I glial-like cells detect the salty taste, while Type III presynaptic cells sense the sour taste.  Type II receptor cells recognize sweet, bitter, and umami tastes by expressing different types of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).Continue reading