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Biochem J. 1999 Nov 1;343 Pt 3:579-86.

Osmotic cell swelling-induced ATP release mediates the activation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (Erk)-1/2 but not the activation of osmo-sensitive anion channels.

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Department of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute COEUR, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Erasmus University, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Human intestine 407 cells respond to hypo-osmotic stress by the rapid release of ATP into the extracellular medium. A difference in the time course of activation as well as in the sensitivity to cytochalasin B treatment and BAPTA-AM [1,2-bis-(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetra-acetic acid acetoxymethyl ester] loading suggests that ATP leaves the cell through a pathway distinct from volume-regulated anion channels. To evaluate a putative role for nucleotides as autocrinic/paracrinic factors in osmotic signalling, the effects of extracellular ATP on the regulation of volume-sensitive anion channels as well as on the hypotonicity-induced activation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases (Erk-1/2) were investigated. Micromolar concentrations of ATP were unable to elicit an isotope efflux from (125)I(-)-loaded cells by itself, but strongly potentiated the hypotonicity-provoked anion efflux through a Ca(2+)-dependent mechanism. The order of potency of nucleotides (ATP = UTP = ATP[S] > ADP = AMP >> adenosine = cAMP) indicated the involvement of P2Y(2) receptors. In contrast, millimolar concentrations of ATP markedly inhibited both the osmotically induced isotope efflux and whole-cell Cl(-) currents. Inhibition of whole-cell Cl(-) currents, not only by millimolar ATP but also by the purinoceptor antagonists suramin and reactive blue, was observed most prominently at depolarizing holding potentials, suggesting a direct interaction with volume-sensitive Cl(-) channels rather than interaction with purinoceptors. Both ATP and UTP, at submicromolar levels, were found to act as potent activators of Erk-1/2 in intestine 407 cells. Addition of the ATP hydrolase apyrase to the bath greatly reduced the hypotonicity-induced Erk-1/2 activation, but did not affect the swelling-induced isotope efflux or whole-cell Cl(-) currents. Furthermore, pre-treatment with suramin or reactive blue almost completely prevented the hypo-osmotic activation of Erk-1/2. The results indicate that extracellularly released ATP functions as an autocrinic/paracrinic factor that mediates hypotonicity-induced Erk-1/2 activation but does not serve as an activator of volume-sensitive compensatory Cl(-) currents.

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