American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
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Copyright © 2020 the American Physiological Society Pannexin 1 (PANX1) is a ubiquitously expressed, channel-forming protein found in a number of tissues throughout the body (e.g., lung, vasculature, liver, central nervous system, immune system) that is important in many key physiological and immune responses (18, 55). PANX1 channels passively flux ATP (predominantly), multiple metabolites, and likely other small anions (37, 39). PANX1 channels regulate inflammation and host responses to several pathogens, including viruses (36, 42, 53). While there is currently no evidence suggesting novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and PANX1 directly interact, there is an urgent need for therapeutic strategies, especially those targeting the hyperinflammation and cytokine storm that occurs in severe cases of COVID-19 (27, 41). Here we argue that PANX1, and drugs known to target PANX1 (including the FDA-approved drug probenecid), should be the focus of further investigation in the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its associated pathology in COVID-19 patients.