Interactions of Pannexin1 channels with purinergic and NMDA receptor channels

Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr. 2018 Jan;1860(1):166-173. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2017.03.025. Epub 2017 Apr 4.


Pannexins are a three-member family of vertebrate plasma membrane spanning molecules that have homology to the invertebrate gap junction forming proteins, the innexins. However, pannexins do not form gap junctions but operate as plasma membrane channels. The best-characterized member of these proteins, Pannexin1 (Panx1) was suggested to be functionally associated with purinergic P2X and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor channels. Activation of these receptor channels by their endogenous ligands leads to cross-activation of Panx1 channels. This in turn potentiates P2X and NMDA receptor channel signaling. Two potentiation concepts have been suggested: enhancement of the current responses and/or sustained receptor channel activation by ATP released through Panx1 pore and adenosine generated by ectonucleotidase-dependent dephosphorylation of ATP. Here we summarize the current knowledge and hypotheses about interactions of Panx1 channels with P2X and NMDA receptor channels. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Gap Junction Proteins edited by Jean Claude Herve.

Keywords: ATP; Megapore; NMDA receptors; P2X receptors; Pannexin1; Purinergic receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / metabolism*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / genetics
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Connexins / genetics
  • Connexins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / genetics
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X / genetics
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X / metabolism*


  • Connexins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • PANX1 protein, human
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Adenosine