P2X7 receptor is an ion channel activated by extracellular adenosine trisphosphate
(eATP) that attracted increasing attention for its role in immune reactions, neurobiology
and oncology. As receptor for an extracellular ligand, P2X7 activates a series of intracellular
signalling pathways mainly via alterations of the ion permeability, but also
through formation of a large unselective pore and direct interaction with other proteins. Here
we wish to give an overview on the main biochemical paths initiated by P2X7 activation by
revising recent and established literature on P2X7-triggered signalling cascades leading to
cell death, inflammatory and immune response activation, proliferation and metabolism
modulation. We will focus on the well-known P2X7 inflammasome/NF-kB and pro-apoptotic
networks but also cover P2X7-activated emerging autophagic, pyroptotic and proliferativeoncogenic
pathways, like beclin-1/LC3-II, caspase-11, Akt and VEGF axes.
Keywords: P2X7, ATP, autophagy, pyroptosis, IL-1β, NLRP3, Akt, VEGF.
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