Purinoreceptors and ectonucleotidases control ATP-induced calcium waveforms and calcium-dependent responses in microglia: Roles of P2 receptors and CD39 in ATP-stimulated microglia

Byeong J. Chun, Surya P. Aryal, Peter Varughese, Bin Sun, Joshua A. Bruno, Chris I. Richards, Adam D. Bachstetter, Peter M. Kekenes-Huskey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and its metabolites drive microglia migration and cytokine production by activating P2X- and P2Y- class purinergic receptors. Purinergic receptor activation gives rise to diverse intracellular calcium (Ca2+ signals, or waveforms, that differ in amplitude, duration, and frequency. Whether and how these characteristics of diverse waveforms influence microglia function is not well-established. We developed a computational model trained with data from published primary murine microglia studies. We simulate how purinoreceptors influence Ca2+ signaling and migration, as well as, how purinoreceptor expression modifies these processes. Our simulation confirmed that P2 receptors encode the amplitude and duration of the ATP-induced Ca2+ waveforms. Our simulations also implicate CD39, an ectonucleotidase that rapidly degrades ATP, as a regulator of purinergic receptor-induced Ca2+ responses. Namely, it was necessary to account for CD39 metabolism of ATP to align the model’s predicted purinoreceptor responses with published experimental data. In addition, our modeling results indicate that small Ca2+ transients accompany migration, while large and sustained transients are needed for cytokine responses. Lastly, as a proof-of-principal, we predict Ca2+ transients and cell membrane displacements in a BV2 microglia cell line using published P2 receptor mRNA data to illustrate how our computer model may be extrapolated to other microglia subtypes. These findings provide important insights into how differences in purinergic receptor expression influence microglial responses to ATP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1037417
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
StatePublished - Jan 9 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) (R35) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under grant number R35GM124977 (PK-H), as well as under award numbers R21AG066865 and R01NS103785 (AB). CIR was supported under PCRTF 1000200168. This work used the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) (), which is supported by National Science Foundation grant number ACI-1548562. All the figures are processed or adapted from BioRender.com.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Chun, Aryal, Varughese, Sun, Bruno, Richards, Bachstetter and Kekenes-Huskey.


  • calcium
  • cells-monocytes/macrophages
  • processes-cell activation
  • processes-chemotaxis
  • processes-inflammation
  • processes-signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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