Yoichi Kasahara†, Masataka Narukawa†, Yoshiro Ishimaru, Shinji Kanda, Chie Umatani, Yasunori Takayama, Makoto Tominaga, Yoshitaka Oka, Kaori Kondo, Takashi Kondo, Ayako Takeuchi, Takumi Misaka, Keiko Abe* & Tomiko Asakura*


“Salty taste” sensation is evoked when sodium and chloride ions are present together in the oral cavity. The presence of an epithelial cation channel that receives Na+ has previously been reported. However, no molecular entity involving Cl- receptors has been elucidated. We report the strong expression of transmembrane channel-like 4 (TMC4) in the circumvallate and foliate papillae projected to the glossopharyngeal nerve, mediating a high-concentration of NaCl. Electrophysiological analysis using HEK293T cells revealed that TMC4 was a voltage-dependent Cl- channel and the consequent currents were completely inhibited by NPPB, an anion channel blocker. TMC4 allowed permeation of organic anions including gluconate, but their current amplitudes at positive potentials were less than that of Cl-. Tmc4-deficient mice showed significantly weaker glossopharyngeal nerve response to high-concentration of NaCl than the wild-type littermates. These results indicated that TMC4 is a novel chloride channel that responds to high-concentration of NaCl.

Paper Information

: Journal of Physiological Sciences
: 10.1186/s12576-021-00807-z