Molecular pharmacology, physiology, and structure of the P2Y receptors

Adv Pharmacol. 2011:61:373-415. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385526-8.00012-6.


The P2Y receptors are a widely expressed group of eight nucleotide-activated G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The P2Y(1)(ADP), P2Y(2)(ATP/UTP), P2Y(4)(UTP), P2Y(6)(UDP), and P2Y(11)(ATP) receptors activate G(q) and therefore robustly promote inositol lipid signaling responses. The P2Y(12)(ADP), P2Y(13)(ADP), and P2Y(14)(UDP/UDP-glucose) receptors activate G(i) leading to inhibition of adenylyl cyclase and to Gβγ-mediated activation of a range of effector proteins including phosphoinositide 3-kinase-γ, inward rectifying K(+) (GIRK) channels, phospholipase C-β2 and -β3, and G protein-receptor kinases 2 and 3. A broad range of physiological responses occur downstream of activation of these receptors ranging from Cl(-) secretion by epithelia to aggregation of platelets to neurotransmission. Useful structural models of the P2Y receptors have evolved from extensive genetic analyses coupled with molecular modeling based on three-dimensional structures obtained for rhodopsin and several other GPCRs. Selective ligands have been synthesized for most of the P2Y receptors with the most prominent successes attained with highly selective agonist and antagonist molecules for the ADP-activated P2Y(1) and P2Y(12) receptors. The widely prescribed drug, clopidogrel, which results in irreversible blockade of the platelet P2Y(12) receptor, is the most important therapeutic agent that targets a P2Y receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins