Controlling Engineered P2X Receptors with Light

  • Benjamin N. Atkinson
  • Vijay Chudasama
  • Liam E. BrowneEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2041)


This chapter details methods to express and modify ATP-gated P2X receptor channels so that they can be controlled using light. Following expression in cells, a photoswitchable tool compound can be used to covalently modify mutant P2X receptors, as previously demonstrated for homomeric P2X2 and P2X3 receptors, and heteromeric P2X2/3 receptors. Engineered P2X receptors can be rapidly and reversibly opened and closed by different wavelengths of light. Light-activated P2X receptors can be mutated further to impart ATP-insensitivity if required. This method offers control of specific P2X receptor channels with high spatiotemporal precision to study their roles in physiology and pathophysiology.

Key words

P2X ATP Ion channel Synthetic optogenetics Optochemicals Photoswitchable Azobenzene 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin N. Atkinson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Vijay Chudasama
    • 1
  • Liam E. Browne
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Wolfson Institute for Biomedical ResearchUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and PharmacologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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