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EMBO J. 2006 Nov 1;25(21):5071-82. Epub 2006 Oct 12.

Pannexin-1 mediates large pore formation and interleukin-1beta release by the ATP-gated P2X7 receptor.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.


P2X(7) receptors are ATP-gated cation channels; their activation in macrophage also leads to rapid opening of a membrane pore permeable to dyes such as ethidium, and to release of the pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta). It has not been known what this dye-uptake path is, or whether it is involved in downstream signalling to IL-1beta release. Here, we identify pannexin-1, a recently described mammalian protein that functions as a hemichannel when ectopically expressed, as this dye-uptake pathway and show that signalling through pannexin-1 is required for processing of caspase-1 and release of mature IL-1beta induced by P2X(7) receptor activation.

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