, Volume 26, Issue 8-9, pp 959-969

Purinergic Signalling: ATP Release

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Abstract

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) has a fundamental intracellular role as the universal source of energy for all living cells. The demonstration of its release into the extracellular space and the identification and localisation of specific receptors on target cells have been essential in establishing, after considerable resistance, its extracellular physiological roles. It is now generally accepted that ATP is a genuine neurotransmitter both in the central and peripheral nervous systems. As such, there are numerous arguments which prove that the release of ATP by nerve terminals is by exocytosis. In some non-neuronal cells, however, recent evidence suggests that ATP release could also be carrier-mediated and would involve ATP-binding cassette proteins (ABC), an ubiquitous family of transport ATPases.