Homomeric P2X receptors differ in their electrophysiological and pharmacological profiles. The rapidly activating and desensitizing P2X3 receptors are known for their involvement in pain signalling pathways. Modulatory effects on P2X3 receptors have been reported for low concentrations of ATP ([ATP]). This includes both, enhancement and reduction of receptor currents. The first has been reported to be mediated by activation of ectoprotein kinases and high affinity desensitization (HAD), respectively. Both processes influence receptor current amplitudes. Here we describe a new phenomenon, the modulatory influence of ambient low [ATP] on P2X3 receptor kinetics. First, we studied in HEK cells whether persistent ATP affects current decay. To this end, P2X3 receptor mediated currents, elicited by pressure application of saturating [ATP], were analyzed after pre-application of low [ATP]. Second, UV-flash photolysis of ATP was employed to investigate whether submicromolar [ATP] affects receptor activation. Finally we confirmed the action of nanomolar [ATP] on native P2X3 receptors of neurons freshly isolated from rat dorsal root ganglia. We found that persistent low [ATP] caused pronounced deceleration of receptor current activation and decay. This priming effect indicates a mechanism different from HAD. It could be explained by a pre-opening receptor isomerization, induced by the occupation of a high affinity binding site already at the resting state. The observed modulation of the receptor kinetics could be considered as a physiological fine tuning mechanism of the nociceptive system, driven by the actual ambient agonist concentration.
- DRG neurons
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience