When there is a perturbation in the balance between hunger and satiety, food intake gets mis-regulated leading to excessive or insufficient eating. In humans, abnormal nutrient consumption causes metabolic conditions like obesity, diabetes, and eating disorders affecting overall health. Despite this burden on society, we currently lack enough knowledge about the neuronal circuits that regulate appetite and taste perception. How specific taste neuronal circuits influence feeding behaviours is still an under explored area in neurobiology. The taste information present at the periphery must be processed by the central circuits for the final behavioural output. Identification and understanding of central neural circuitry regulating taste behaviour and its modulation by physiological changes with regard to internal state is required to understand the neural basis of taste preference. Simple invertebrate model organisms like Drosophila melanogaster can sense the same taste stimuli as mammals. Availability of powerful molecular and genetic tool kit and well characterized peripheral gustatory system with a vast array of behavioural, calcium imaging, molecular and electrophysiological approaches make Drosophila an attractive system to investigate and understand taste wiring and processing in the brain. By exploiting the gustatory system of the flies, this chapter will shed light on the current understanding of central neural taste structures that influence feeding choices. The compiled information would help us better understand how central taste neurons convey taste information to higher brain centers and guide feeding behaviours like acceptance or rejection of food to better combat disease state caused by abnormal consumption of food.
Part of the book: Role of Obesity in Human Health and Disease