Purinergic Signalling

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 269–272 | Cite as

An evolutionary history of P2X receptors

  • Samuel J. FountainEmail author
  • Geoffrey Burnstock


Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an ancient and fundamentally important biological molecule involved in both intracellular and extracellular activities. P2X ionotropic and P2Y metabotropic receptors have been cloned and characterised in mammals. ATP plays a central physiological role as a transmitter molecule in processes including the sensation of pain, taste, breathing and inflammation via the activation of P2X receptors. P2X receptors are structurally distinct from glutamate and Cys-loop/nicotinic receptors and form the third major class of ligand-gated ion channel. Yet, despite the importance of P2X receptors, both as physiological mediators and therapeutic targets, the evolutionary origins and phylogenicity of ATP signalling via P2X receptors remain unclear.


ATP Evolution P2X P2Y Receptor 



Ligand-gated ion channels


Expressed sequence tags



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Membrane & Systems Biology, Faculty of Biological SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Autonomic Neuroscience CentreRoyal Free and University College Medical SchoolLondonUK

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