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    Ionotropic purinergic (P2X) receptors are trimeric channels that are activated by the binding of ATP. They are involved in multiple physiological functions, including synaptic transmission, pain and inflammation. The mechanism of activation is still elusive. Here we kinetically unraveled and quantified subunit activation in P2X2 receptors by an extensive global fit approach with four complex and intimately coupled kinetic schemes to currents obtained from wild type and mutated receptors using ATP and its fluorescent derivative 2-[DY-547P1]-AET-ATP (fATP). We show that the steep concentration-activation relationship in wild type channels is caused by a subunit flip reaction with strong positive cooperativity, overbalancing a pronounced negative cooperativity for the three ATP binding steps, that the net probability fluxes in the model generate a marked hysteresis in the activation-deactivation cycle, and that the predicted fATP binding matches the binding measured by fluorescence. Our results shed light into the intricate activation process of P2X channels.


    Christian Sattler, Thomas Eick, Sabine Hummert, Eckhard Schulz, Ralf Schmauder, Andrea Schweinitz, Christopher Unzeitig, Frank Schwede, Klaus Benndorf. Unravelling the intricate cooperativity of subunit gating in P2X2 ion channels. Scientific reports. 2020 Dec 10;10(1):21751

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    PMID: 33303878

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