[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The polycystic kidney disease 1-like 3 (PKD1L3) and polycystic kidney disease 2-like 1 (PKD2L1) proteins have been proposed to form heteromers that function as sour taste receptors in mammals. Here, we show that PKD1L3 and PKD2L1 interact through their transmembrane domains, and not through the coiled-coil domain, by coimmunoprecipitation experiments using a series of deletion mutants. Deletion mutants lacking the critical interaction region were not transported to the cell surface and remained in the cytoplasm, whereas PKD1L3 and PKD2L1 proteins were expressed at the cell surface when both are transfected. Calcium imaging analysis revealed that neither the coiled-coil domain nor the EF-hand domain located in the C-terminal cytoplasmic tail of PKD2L1 was required for response on stimulation with an acidic solution. Finally, PKD2L1 did not localize to the taste pore but was distributed throughout the cytoplasm in taste cells of circumvallate and foliate papillae in PKD1L3(-/-) mice, whereas it localized to the taste pore in wild-type mice. Collectively, these results suggest that the interaction between PKD1L3 and PKD2L1 through their transmembrane domains is essential for proper trafficking of the channels to the cell surface in taste cells of circumvallate and foliate papillae and in cultured cells.