The Pannexin1 membrane channel: distinct conformations and functions

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The Pannexin1 (Panx1) membrane channel responds to different stimuli with distinct channel conformations. Most stimuli induce a large cation- and ATP-permeable conformation, hence Panx1 is involved in many physiological processes entailing purinergic signaling. For example, oxygen delivery in the peripheral circulatory system is regulated by ATP released from red blood cells and endothelial cells through Panx1 channels. The same membrane channel, however, when stimulated by positive membrane potential or by cleavage with caspase 3, is highly selective for the passage of chloride ions, excluding cations and ATP. Although biophysical data do not allow a distinction between the chloride-selective channels induced by voltage or by caspase cleavage, there must be other subtle differences in the structure, because overexpression of wtPanx1 is well tolerated by cells, while expression of the truncation mutant Panx1Δ378 results in slow cell death. Thus, in addition to the well-characterized two open conformations, there might be a third, more subtle conformational change involved in cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3201-3209
Number of pages9
JournalFEBS letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • ATP
  • Pannexin
  • amplification
  • caspase
  • cation
  • permeability
  • potassium
  • selectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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