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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Sep 17;93(19):10465-70.

P2Y1 purinergic receptors in sensory neurons: contribution to touch-induced impulse generation.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Somatic sensation requires the conversion of physical stimuli into the depolarization of distal nerve endings. A single cRNA derived from sensory neurons renders Xenopus laevis oocytes mechanosensitive and is found to encode a P2Y1 purinergic receptor. P2Y1 mRNA is concentrated in large-fiber dorsal root ganglion neurons. In contrast, P2X3 mRNA is localized to small-fiber sensory neurons and produces less mechanosensitivity in oocytes. The frequency of touch-induced action potentials from frog sensory nerve fibers is increased by the presence of P2 receptor agonists at the peripheral nerve ending and is decreased by the presence of P2 antagonists. P2X-selective agents do not have these effects. The release of ATP into the extracellular space and the activation of peripheral P2Y1 receptors appear to participate in the generation of sensory action potentials by light touch.

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