Characterizing the P2X4 receptor as a contributor to cell membrane fusion and C. trachomatis L2 vacuole fusion
Cell to cell communication is important in an array of biological systems including inflammasome activation and cellular fusion. This process of communication leads to multinucleated giant cell (MGC) formation including: macrophage fusion, osteoclasts and foreign body cells (5, 35). Chronic inflammation contributes to multinucleated cells forming granulomas at sites of infection (5). The specific mechanism of membrane fusion has yet to be understood. Identified modulators of membrane fusion include the hemichannel pannexin-1 in association with purinergic receptor, P2X7 (20). Preliminary results on another P2X receptor, P2X4, have indicated its possible association in membrane fusion and Chlamydia (C. trachomatis) L2 vacuole fusion. Our objective is to characterize P2X4's role in the mechanism of cellular fusion and L2 vacuole fusion. We will also investigate the interaction of P2X4 with pannexin-1 in both membrane fusion processes. These studies will contribute to the understanding of the role of P2X4 in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.