UNIT 9.15 High Throughput Functional Assays for P2X Receptors

  1. Marian T. Namovic,
  2. Michael F. Jarvis,
  3. Diana Donnelly-Roberts

Published Online: 1 JUN 2012

DOI: 10.1002/0471141755.ph0915s57

Current Protocols in Pharmacology

Current Protocols in Pharmacology

How to Cite

Namovic, M. T., Jarvis, M. F. and Donnelly-Roberts, D. 2012. High Throughput Functional Assays for P2X Receptors. Current Protocols in Pharmacology. 57:9.15:9.15.1–9.15.21.

Author Information

  1. Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Illinois

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUN 2012
  2. Published Print: JUN 2012


Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) activates two receptor superfamilies, metabotropic P2Y and ionotropic P2X receptors. The P2X receptors are nonselective cation channels that are widely expressed on excitable cells including neurons, glia, and smooth muscle cells. The protocols in this unit are useful for evaluating ligands that interact with P2X receptors on native cells or that are cloned and expressed in recombinant heterologous cell systems. Calcium imaging methods are described for the pharmacological characterization of fast or slowly desensitizing P2X receptors. While these methods are readily applicable to a wide variety of ligand-gated ion channels, the protocols provided herein detail how they can be used to measure activation of homomeric P2X3 (fast desensitizing) and heteromeric P2X2/3 (slowly desensitizing) receptors. Appropriate agonists and/or calcium dyes can be substituted to assess activity at other P2X receptor subtypes. An additional protocol is provided for measuring P2X7 receptor-mediated pore formation in THP-1, a native human acute monocytic leukemia cell line that can be used to study homomeric P2X7 (non-desensitizing) receptors that are expressed on macrophages and microglial cells. Curr. Protoc. Pharmacol. 57:9.15.1-9.15.21. © 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • P2X1;
  • P2X2;
  • P2X2/3;
  • P2X3;
  • P2X4;
  • P2X7;
  • FLIPR;
  • YO-PRO