The nucleotides were discovered in the early 19th century and a few years later, the role of
such molecules in energy metabolism and cell survival was postulated. In 1972, a pioneer work by
Burnstock and colleagues suggested that ATP could also work as a neurotransmitter, which was known
as the “purinergic hypothesis”. The idea of ATP working as a signaling molecule faced initial resistance
until the discovery of the receptors for ATP and other nucleotides, called purinergic receptors. Among
the purinergic receptors, the P2Y family is of great importance because it comprises of G proteincoupled
receptors (GPCRs). GPCRs are widespread among different organisms. These receptors work in
the cells' ability to sense the external environment, which involves: to sense a dangerous situation or detect
a pheromone through smell; the taste of food that should not be eaten; response to hormones that
alter metabolism according to the body's need; or even transform light into an electrical stimulus to generate
vision. Advances in understanding the mechanism of action of GPCRs shed light on increasingly
promising treatments for diseases that have hitherto remained incurable, or the possibility of abolishing
side effects from therapies widely used today.
Keywords: Malaria, Receptors, Plasmodium falciparum, E-NTPDase, GPCRs, Side effects.
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