Pannexin 1, an ATP release channel, is activated by caspase cleavage of its pore-associated C-terminal autoinhibitory region.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Pannexin 1 (PANX1) channels mediate release of ATP, a "find-me" signal that recruits macrophages to apoptotic cells; PANX1 activation during apoptosis requires caspase-mediated cleavage of PANX1 at its C terminus, but how the C terminus inhibits basal channel activity is not understood. Here, we provide evidence suggesting that the C terminus interacts with the human PANX1 (hPANX1) pore and that cleavage-mediated channel activation requires disruption of this inhibitory interaction. Basally silent hPANX1 channels localized on the cell membrane could be activated directly by protease-mediated C-terminal cleavage, without additional apoptotic effectors. By serial deletion, we identified a C-terminal region just distal to the caspase cleavage site that is required for inhibition of hPANX1; point mutations within this small region resulted in partial activation of full-length hPANX1. Consistent with the C-terminal tail functioning as a pore blocker, we found that truncated and constitutively active hPANX1 channels could be inhibited, in trans, by the isolated hPANX1 C terminus either in cells or when applied directly as a purified peptide in inside-out patch recordings. Furthermore, using a cysteine cross-linking approach, we showed that relief of inhibition following cleavage requires dissociation of the C terminus from the channel pore. Collectively, these data suggest a mechanism of hPANX1 channel regulation whereby the intact, pore-associated C terminus inhibits the full-length hPANX1 channel and a remarkably well placed caspase cleavage site allows effective removal of key inhibitory C-terminal determinants to activate hPANX1.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sandilos, JK; Chiu, Y-H; Chekeni, FB; Armstrong, AJ; Walk, SF; Ravichandran, KS; Bayliss, DA

Published Date

  • March 30, 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 287 / 14

Start / End Page

  • 11303 - 11311

PubMed ID

  • 22311983

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3322839

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1083-351X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1074/jbc.M111.323378


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States