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FEBS Lett. 2004 Aug 13;572(1-3):65-8.

Pannexin membrane channels are mechanosensitive conduits for ATP.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Miami School of Medicine, 1600 NW 10th Ave, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


Intercellular calcium wave propagation initiated by mechanical stress is a phenomenon found in nearly all cell types. The waves utilize two pathways: transfer of InsP3 directly from cell to cell through gap junction channels and release of ATP onto extracellular purinergic receptors. The conduit for ATP has remained elusive and both a vesicular and a channel mediated release have been considered. Here, we describe the properties of single pannexin 1 channels. They have a wide expression spectrum, they are of large conductance and permeant for ATP, and they are mechanosensitive. Hence, pannexins are candidates for the release of ATP to the extracellular space upon mechanical stress.

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