Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-27-2022

Document Type



Niyonshuti, P., Sukumaran, S., Palayyan, R.S. Role of Microfold (M) Cell Pathways in Taste System. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2022.


Copyright Pascaline Niyonshuti, Sunil Sukumaran, Salin Raj Palayyan 2022.


Microfold (M) cells are specific immune surveillance cells located in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) of the Peyer's patches (PPs) of the small intestine along with some other mucosae and provide an immune response by actively transporting the antigens to the underlying lymphoid follicles. M cell protects humans from infectious microbial diseases encountered from the environment or the food consumed. As it has been illustrated by Covid-19 pandemic, the oral microbiome influences the taste perception. Herein, we hypothesise the role of taste papillae in the immune function through the M cell like gene regulation of immunity. We employed the qPCR, single cell RNAseq and RNAScope molecular biology techniques to examine the M cell marker gene expression in CVP of C57BL/6J mice. The single cell RNASeq, revealed that taste papillae and duct cells of the von Ebner gland in mouse circumvallate papillae (CVP) express M cell pathway genes. This was confirmed using qPCR and RNAScope of taste papillae. Our study is the maiden report on the role of M cell pathways in taste cells which protects against infectious and opportunistic oral pathogens.