Detecting ATP Release by a Biosensor Method

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Science's STKE  09 Nov 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 258, pp. pl14
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2582004pl14

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Cells release adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) into the extracellular space in response to various stimuli. This released ATP plays an important physiological role in cell-to-cell signal transduction. The bulk ATP concentration can be detected using a conventional luciferin-luciferase assay. However, the ATP concentration in the vicinity of the cell surface is often different from the bulk concentration because of its rapid degradation by ecto-ATPases and because of delayed diffusion due to unstirred layer effects. Here, we describe a simple biosensor method to measure the local ATP concentration on the cell surface in real time. The method is based on the ATP-dependent opening of ligand-gated cation channels of purinergic P2X receptors expressed in undifferentiated pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells or in human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293) cells stably transfected with recombinant P2X2 purinergic receptors. Under the whole-cell configuration of patch-clamp, a sensor PC12 cell or HEK293 is positioned within the proximity of a target cell, and the P2X-mediated currents induced by ATP released from a given site on the target cell surface is measured. The ATP release is quantified by a calibration procedure utilizing local puff applications of ATP at preset concentrations.

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