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Science. 1996 May 3;272(5262):735-8.

The cytolytic P2Z receptor for extracellular ATP identified as a P2X receptor (P2X7).

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  • 1Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology, Geneva, Switzerland.


The P2Z receptor is responsible for adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent lysis of macrophages through the formation of membrane pores permeable to large molecules. Other ATP-gated channels, the P2X receptors, are permeable only to small cations. Here, an ATP receptor, the P2X7 receptor, was cloned from rat brain and exhibited both these properties. This protein is homologous to other P2X receptors but has a unique carboxyl-terminal domain that was required for the lytic actions of ATP. Thus, the P2X7 (or P2Z) receptor is a bifunctional molecule that could function in both fast synaptic transmission and the ATP-mediated lysis of antigen-presenting cells.

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