1. The modulator effects of a series of neurotransmitters and related substances were tested on responses to adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) at a recombinant P2x2 receptor expressed in defolliculated Xenopus oocytes. 2. Nicotine, 5'-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), noradrenaline, adenosine, bradykinin and histamine (all 100 microM) potentiated the responses to ATP (3 microM). an effect found due to acidification of the bathing solution by these drugs. 3. Arachidonic acid, met-enkephalin, substance P, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) (all 100 microM) and nerve growth factor (NGF; 50 ng ml-1) potentiated the responses to ATP (3 microM) through a largely or wholly pH-independent effect. 4. Small acidic and alkaline shifts, as little as 0.03 pH-units, enhanced or diminished the responses to ATP, respectively. A linear relationship existed between the degree of potentiation of the ATP-induced responses caused by nicotine, 5-HT, noradrenaline, adenosine, bradykinin and histamine and the potentiation of these responses induced by the addition of acid to the superfusate. 5. Since P2x receptors on sensory neurones include P2x2 subunits, the attendant acidosis and ATP-release associated with tissue injury may play a role in sensitizing sensory nerve fibres.