Research ArticleImmunology

Purinergic Control of T Cell Activation by ATP Released Through Pannexin-1 Hemichannels

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Sci. Signal.  30 Sep 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 39, pp. ra6
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.1160583

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T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation results in the influx of Ca2+, which is buffered by mitochondria and promotes adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis. We found that ATP released from activated T cells through pannexin-1 hemichannels activated purinergic P2X receptors (P2XRs) to sustain mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling. P2XR antagonists, such as oxidized ATP (oATP), blunted MAPK activation in stimulated T cells, but did not affect the nuclear translocation of the transcription factor nuclear factor of activated T cells, thus promoting T cell anergy. In vivo administration of oATP blocked the onset of diabetes mediated by anti-islet TCR transgenic T cells and impaired the development of colitogenic T cells in inflammatory bowel disease. Thus, pharmacological inhibition of ATP release and signaling could be beneficial in treating T cell–mediated inflammatory diseases.

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