AMPK-dependent and independent actions of P2X7 in regulation of mitochondrial and lysosomal functions in microglia

Ponarulselvam Sekar, Duen Yi Huang, Shie Liang Hsieh, Shwu Fen Chang, Wan Wan Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Background: P2X7 is ubiquitously expressed in myeloid cells and regulates the pathophysiology of inflammatory diseases. Since mitochondrial function in microglia is highly associated with microglial functions in controlling neuronal plasticity and brain homeostasis, we interested to explore the roles of P2X7 in mitochondrial and lysosomal functions as well as mitophagy in microglia. Methods: P2X7-/- bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM), primary microglia and BV-2 immortalized microglial cells were used to detect the particular protein expression by immunoblotting. Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mitoROS), intracellular calcium, mitochondrial mass and lysosomal integrity were examined by flow cytometry. Mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate (OCR) was recorded using Seahorse XF flux analyzer. Confocal microscopic images were performed to indicate the mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy after P2X7 activation. Results: In primary microglia, BV-2 microglial cells and BMDM, P2X7 agonist BzATP triggered AMPK activation and LC3II accumulation through reactive oxygen species (ROS) and CaMKKII pathways, and these effects were abolished by P2X7 antagonist A438079 and P2X7 deficiency. Moreover, we detected the dramatic decreases of mitochondrial OCR and mass following P2X7 activation. AMPK inhibition by compound C or AMPK silencing reversed the P2X7 actions in reduction of mitochondrial mass, induction of mitochondrial fission and mitophagy, but not in uncoupling of mitochondrial respiration. Interestingly, we found that P2X7 activation induced nuclear translocation of TFEB via an AMPK-dependent pathway and led to lysosomal biogenesis. Mimicking the actions of BzATP, nigericin also induced ROS-dependent AMPK activation, mitophagy, mitochondrial fission and respiratory inhibition. Longer exposure of BzATP induced cell death, and this effect was accompanied by the lysosomal instability and was inhibited by autophagy and cathepsin B inhibitors. Conclusion: Altogether ROS- and CaMKK-dependent AMPK activation is involved in P2X7-mediated mitophagy, mitochondrial dynamics and lysosomal biogenesis in microglial cells, which is followed by cytotoxicity partially resulting from mitophagy and cathepsin B activation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number83
JournalCell Communication and Signaling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 20 2018


  • AMPK
  • Lysosomal biogenesis
  • Mitophagy
  • P2X7

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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