, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 870-881

P2X4 and P2X6 receptors associate with VE-cadherin in human endothelial cells

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Abstract.

We investigated the expression of P2X4 and P2X6 receptors on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and found that both P2X receptor subtypes on plasma membranes are largely restricted to areas of cell-cell contact. Co-labelling experiments at the confocal and electron microscopy levels revealed that P2X4 and P2X6 receptors are strongly co-localised with the cell adhesion molecule VE-cadherin. The P2X4 and P2X6 receptors on plasma membranes at cellular junctions are rapidly (within 5 min) internalised specifically after decreasing extracellular [Ca2+]. Disruption of microfilaments, microtubules and integrin-mediated adhesion or stimulation of P2 receptors with ATP did not alter P2X4 and P2X6 receptor expression on HUVEC plasma membranes. Membraneous P2X4 and P2X6 receptors resisted extraction with Triton-X 100, whereas cytoplasmic P2X receptors were Triton-X 100 soluble. P2X4 receptors, but not P2X6 receptors, could be co-immunoprecipitated with VE-cadherin and vice versa. We conclude that P2X4 and P2X6 receptors are associated with VE-cadherin at HUVEC adherens junctions.

Received 15 March 2002; revised 15 March 2002; accepted 19 March 2002