ATP released by electrical stimuli elicits calcium transients and gene expression in skeletal muscle

Sonja Buvinic, Gonzalo Almarza, Mario Bustamante, Mariana Casas, Javiera López, Manuel Riquelme, Juan Carlos Sáez, Juan Pablo Huidobro-Toro, Enrique Jaimovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


ATP released from cells is known to activate plasma membrane P2X (ionotropic) or P2Y (metabotropic) receptors. In skeletal muscle cells, depolarizing stimuli induce both a fast calcium signal associated with contraction and a slow signal that regulates gene expression. Here we show that nucleotides released to the extracellular medium by electrical stimulation are partly involved in the fast component and are largely responsible for the slow signals. In rat skeletal myotubes, a tetanic stimulus (45 Hz, 400 1-ms pulses) rapidly increased extracellular levels of ATP, ADP, and AMP after 15 s to 3 min. Exogenous ATP induced an increase in intracellular free Ca2+ concentration, with an EC50 value of 7.8 ± 3.1 μM. Exogenous ADP, UTP, and UDP also promoted calcium transients. Both fast and slow calcium signals evoked by tetanic stimulation were inhibited by either 100 μM suramin or 2 units/ml apyrase. Apyrase also reduced fast and slow calcium signals evoked by tetanus (45 Hz, 400 0.3-ms pulses) in isolated mouse adult skeletal fibers. A likely candidate for the ATP release pathway is the pannexin-1 hemichannel; its blockers inhibited both calcium transients and ATP release. The dihydropyridine receptor co-precipitated with both the P2Y2 receptor and pannexin-1. As reported previously for electrical stimulation, 500 μM ATP significantly increased mRNA expression for both c-fos and interleukin 6. Our results suggest that nucleotides released during skeletal muscle activity through pannexin-1 hemichannels act through P2X and P2Y receptors to modulate both Ca2+ homeostasis and muscle physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34490-34505
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 11 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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