Taste buds are receptor organs for gustation. Two types of taste receptor cells have been identified in taste buds: Type II and Type III cells. Type III cells connect with afferent fibers through conventional chemical synapses. In the present study, we used immunocytochemistry to examine the distribution pattern of Bassoon, a scaffolding protein of the cytomatrix at the active zones of conventional synapses in mouse taste buds. Bassoon was predominantly detected as small puncta in Type III cells. Bassoon-immunoreactive puncta were observed in proximity to or partially overlapping with intragemmal nerve fibers. The distribution pattern of Bassoon in taste buds was similar among circumvallate, fungiform, and foliate taste buds. Immunoelectron microscopy showed Bassoon at the active zones of the conventional synapses of Type III cells in circumvallate taste buds. The present results demonstrate that Bassoon is a marker for synapses between Type III cells and afferent fibers in mouse taste buds.

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