Bioluminescence detection of ATP release mechanisms in epithelia

Amanda L. Taylor, Brian A. Kudlow, Kevin L. Marrs, Dieter C. Gruenert, William B. Guggino, Erik M. Schwiebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Autocrine and paracrine release of and extracellular signaling by ATP is a ubiquitous cell biological and physiological process. Despite this knowledge, the mechanisms and physiological roles of cellular ATP release are unknown. We tested the hypothesis that epithelia release ATP under basal and stimulated conditions by using a newly designed and highly sensitive assay for bioluminescence detection of ATP released from polarized epithelial monolayers. This bioluminescence assay measures ATP released from cystic fibrosis (CF) and non-CF human epithelial monolayers in a reduced serum medium through catalysis of the luciferase-luciferin reaction, yielding a photon of light collected by a luminometer. This novel assay measures ATP released into the apical or basolateral medium surrounding epithelia. Of relevance to CF, CF epithelia fail to release ATP across the apical membrane under basal conditions. Moreover, hypotonicity is an extracellular signal that stimulates ATP release into both compartments of non-CF epithelia in a reversible manner; the response to hypotonicity is also lost in CF epithelia. The bioluminescence detection assay for ATP released from epithelia and other cells will be useful in the study of extracellular nucleotide signaling in physiological and pathophysiological paradigms. Taken together, these results suggest that extracellular ATP may be a constant regulator of epithelial cell function under basal conditions and an autocrine regulator of cell volume under hypotonic conditions, two functions that may be lost in CF and contribute to CF pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1391-C1406
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number5 44-5
StatePublished - 1998


  • Airway
  • Autocrine and paracrine regulation
  • Cell culture
  • Cell volume regulation
  • Ecto-adenosinetriphosphatase
  • Extracellular nucleotides
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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