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Channels (Austin). 2014;8(2):118-23. doi: 10.4161/chan.27978. Epub 2014 Feb 27.

Pannexin-1 as a potentiator of ligand-gated receptor signaling.

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Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center; University of Virginia School of Medicine; Charlottesville, VA USA; Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics; University of Virginia School of Medicine; Charlottesville, VA USA.
Hotchkiss Brain Institute; Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy; University of Calgary; Calgary, AB Canada.


Pannexins are a class of plasma membrane spanning proteins that presumably form a hexameric, non-selective ion channel. Although similar in secondary structure to the connexins, pannexins notably do not form endogenous gap junctions and act as bona fide ion channels. The pannexins have been primarily studied as ATP-release channels, but the overall diversity of their functions is still being elucidated. There is an intriguing theme with pannexins that has begun to develop. In this review we analyze several recent reports that converge on the idea that pannexin channels (namely Panx1) can potentiate ligand-gated receptor signaling. Although the literature remains sparse, this emerging concept appears consistent between both ionotropic and metabotropic receptors of several ligand families.


G-protein coupled receptor; NMDA receptor; adrenergic receptor; alpha1R; gap junction; hemichannel; ionotropic receptor; pannexin; purinergic

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