An intracellular motif of P2X(3) receptors is required for functional cross-talk with GABA(A) receptors in nociceptive DRG neurons

J Neurochem. 2007 Aug;102(4):1357-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2007.04640.x. Epub 2007 May 10.


Functional cross-talk between structurally unrelated P2X ATP receptors and members of the 'cys-loop' receptor-channel superfamily represents a recently-discovered mechanism for rapid modulation of information processing. The extent and the mechanism of the inhibitory cross-talks between these two classes of ionotropic receptors remain poorly understood, however. Both ionic and molecular coupling were proposed to explain cross-inhibition between P2X subtypes and GABA(A) receptors, suggesting a P2X subunit-dependent mechanism. We show here that cross-inhibition between neuronal P2X(3) or P2X(2+3) and GABA(A) receptors does not depend on chloride and calcium ions. We identified an intracellular QST(386-388) motif in P2X(3) subunits which is required for the functional coupling with GABA(A) receptors. Moreover the cross-inhibition between native P2X(3) and GABA receptors in cultured rat dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons is abolished by infusion of a peptide containing the QST motif as well as by viral expression of the main intracellular loop of GABA(A)beta3 subunits. We provide evidence that P2X(3) and GABA(A) receptors are colocalized in the soma and central processes of nociceptive DRG neurons, suggesting that specific intracellular P2X(3)-GABA(A) subunit interactions underlie a pre-synaptic cross-talk that might contribute to the regulation of sensory synaptic transmission in the spinal cord.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoplasm / drug effects
  • Cytoplasm / physiology
  • Drug Interactions / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / radiation effects
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Oocytes
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, GABA-A / physiology*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X3
  • Xenopus laevis
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / pharmacology


  • P2rx3 protein, rat
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X3
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Adenosine Triphosphate