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Using Taste to Clear the Air(ways)

Epithelial cells that line the human airway are constantly bombarded by environmental hazards, including toxins, irritants, viruses, and bacteria. The airway rids itself of these agents by secreting mucus to ‚Äúcapture‚ÄĚ harmful substances and increasing the beat frequency of motile cilia on epithelial cells to sweep the mucus out of the system. Protective reflexes such as coughing are also initiated. The mechanisms used to detect and respond to harmful agents are poorly understood. This perspective discusses a report by Shah et al. showing that cultured human airway epithelial cells use elements of the bitter taste cellular signaling pathway to detect and eliminate potential noxious agents from the airways.

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Resource Type: Journal article/Issue, Illustration
Audience Level: Undergraduate lower division 13-14, Undergraduate upper division 15-16, Graduate, Professional (degree program), Continuing education

Author and Copyright

Authors and Editors: Sue Kinnamon of Department of Otolaryngology and Rocky Mountain Taste and Smell Center, University of Colorado Denver, Susan Reynolds of Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Health
Publisher: SCIENCE
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: No


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