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Purinergic Signalling

Published/Hosted by Springer. ISSN (printed): 1573-9538. ISSN (electronic): 1573-9546.

Nucleotides and nucleosides are primitive biological molecules that were utilized early in evolution both as intracellular energy sources and as extracellular signalling molecules. ATP was first identified as a neurotransmitter and later as a co-transmitter with all the established neurotransmitters in both peripheral and central nervous systems. Four subtypes of P1 (adenosine) receptors have been identified and, since the ion channel and G protein-coupled families of nucleotide (P2) receptors were cloned in the early 1990’s, there is clear evidence for the widespread distribution of over 18 subtypes in neuronal and non-neuronal cells, including glial, immune, bone, muscle, endothelial, epithelial and endocrine cells. There is both short-term purinergic signalling in transmission and secretion and long-term (trophic) signalling in controlling cell proliferation, differentiation, motility and death in development and regeneration and there is increasing interest in the roles of purines and pyrimidines in pathophysiological conditions and their therapeutic potential in disease. At the molecular level, rapid progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms of nucleotide and nucleoside release, their extracellular metabolism, the intracellular signalling cascades elicited by receptor activation and the cross-talk with other essential signalling pathways. The rapidly growing interest in purinergic signalling with its exceptionally wide spectrum of signalling functions in health and disease makes the launching of a new journal devoted to purinergic signalling attractive and timely.

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