Purinergic signaling, mediated mainly by G protein-coupled P2Y receptors (P2YRs), is now attracting attention as a new therapeutic target for preventing or treating cardiovascular diseases. Observations using mice with genetically modified P2YRs and/or treated with a pharmacological P2YR inhibitor have helped us understand the physiological and pathological significance of P2YRs in the cardiovascular system. P2YR-mediated biological functions are predominantly activated by mononucleotides released from non-adrenergic, non-cholinergic nerve endings or non-secretory tissues in response to physical stress or cell injury, though recent studies have suggested the occurrence of ligand-independent P2YR function through receptor-receptor interactions (oligomerization) in several biological processes. In this review, we introduce the functions of P2YRs and possible dimerization with G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in the cardiovascular system. We focus especially on the crosstalk between uridine nucleotide-responsive P2Y6R and angiotensin (Ang) II type1 receptor (AT1R) signaling, and introduce our recent finding that the P2Y6R antagonist MRS2578 interrupts heterodimerization between P2Y6R and AT1R, thereby reducing the risk of AT1R-stimulated hypertension in mice. These results strongly suggest that targeting P2Y6R oligomerization could be an effective new strategy to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
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