Transient receptor potential V3 (TRPV3) and TRPV4 are heat-activated cation channels expressed in keratinocytes. It has been proposed that heat-activation of TRPV3 and/or TRPV4 in the skin may release diffusible molecules which would then activate termini of neighboring dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Here we show that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is such a candidate molecule released from keratinocytes upon heating in the co-culture systems. Using TRPV1-deficient DRG neurons, we found that increase in cytosolic Ca(2+)-concentration in DRG neurons upon heating was observed only when neurons were co-cultured with keratinocytes, and this increase was blocked by P2 purinoreceptor antagonists, PPADS and suramin. In a co-culture of keratinocytes with HEK293 cells (transfected with P2X(2) cDNA to serve as a bio-sensor), we observed that heat-activated keratinocytes secretes ATP, and that ATP release is compromised in keratinocytes from TRPV3-deficient mice. This study provides evidence that ATP is a messenger molecule for mainly TRPV3-mediated thermotransduction in skin.