Functional interactions between P2X4 and P2X7 receptors from mouse salivary epithelia

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Mouse parotid acinar cells express P2X4 and P2X7 receptors (mP2X4R and mP2X7R) whose physiological function remains undetermined. Here we show that mP2X4R expressed in HEK-293 cells do not allow the passage of tetraethylammonium (TEA+) and promote little, if any, ethidium bromide (EtBr) uptake when stimulated with ATP or BzATP. In contrast, mP2X7R generates slowly decaying TEA+ current, sustained Na+ current and promotes robust EtBr uptake. However, ATP-activated TEA+ current from acinar cells was unlike that generated by mP2X7R or mP2X4R. Functional interactions between mP2X4R and mP2X7R were investigated in HEK cells co-transfected with different mP2X4: mP2X7 cDNA ratios and using solutions containing either TEA+ or Na+ ions. Co-expressed channels generated a TEA+ current that displayed faster decay during ATP stimulation than mP2X7R alone. Moreover, cells transfected with a 2: 1 cDNA ratio displayed decaying kinetics similar to those observed in acinar cells. Concentration-response curves in Na+-containing solutions were constructed for heterologously expressed mP2X4R, mP2X7R and mP2X4R:mP2X7R co-expressions as well as acinar cells. The EC50 values determined were 11, 220, 434 and 442 μM, respectively. Na+ currents generated by expressing mP2X4R or mP2X7R alone were potentiated by ivermectin (IVM). In contrast, IVM potentiation in acinar cells and HEK cells co-expressing P2X4 and P2X7 (1: 1 or 2: 1 cDNA ratios) was seen only when the ATP concentration was lowered from 5 to 0.03 mM. Taken together our observations indicate a functional interaction between murine P2X7 and P2X4 receptors. Such interaction might occur in acinar cells to shape the response to extracellular ATP in salivary epithelia.

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