In addition to Professor Burnstock's work on the short-term signaling actions of extracellular nucleotides and nucleosides, Geoff has had a long-standing interest in trophic actions of purines in development and in pathophysiological conditions which has been instrumental in encouraging my work in this area. The trophic actions of extracellular ATP, alone or in combination with polypeptide growth factors, may play an important role in brain development and may contribute to the reactive gliosis that accompanies brain injury and neurodegeneration. P2Y receptors in astrocytes are coupled to the ERK/MAPK cascade, a signal transduction mechanism crucial for cellular proliferation and differentiation. The mitogenic signaling pathway from P2Y receptors to ERK involves phospholipase D and a calcium-independent PKC isoform, PKCdelta. DNA array analysis reveals a number of changes in gene expression after P2Y receptor occupancy, indicating that this methodology will be a powerful tool in understanding the mechanisms underlying the trophic actions of extracellular nucleotides and nucleosides.