Flies have taste receptors similar to mammals, which makes them able to detect bitter and salty compounds. They also have a special receptor called the umami, which means savory in Japanese. The umami receptor corresponds to the glutamate receptor in mammals. Scott and his team were supported by a National Institutes of Health grant.
Flies can taste both sweet and salty substances, and their taste receptors are located on their wings, legs, and mouthparts. They also have receptors on their antennae. However, unlike humans, flies have specialized taste receptors in their wings and legs. These specialized sensory cells also help them detect food that contains salt and taste its odor.
The fruit fly’s salt-smell system consists of two distinct types of salt-sensitive neurons. One activates at low concentrations, whereas the other is activated maximally at high concentrations. These specialized receptors regulate the output of different GRNs, and the relative strength of the salt-attractive and aversive neurons determines the net outcome of the salt behavioral response.
The sensory neurons in the taste organs of Drosophila ingest food through their proboscis, a muscular tube. They have two labial palps and 200-300 gustatory sensilla. They have a labellum that is covered with taste bristles on each outer surface and 30 inner taste pegs. The labellum contains both mechanosensory and gustatory neurons and is exposed during active feeding.