Catherine Vial

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Tel: +44 (0)116 229 7067


Personal details

  • PhD  Molecular and Cell Pharmacology, 1998. Unité INSERM 311: Biology and Pharmacology of Haemostasis and Thrombosis, EFS Alsace. Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.
  • Research Associate, 1999–2005. Dept of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Leicester, UK.
  • Wellcome Trust-funded ‘Value-in-People’ Award Research Fellow, 2006. Wellcome Trust-funded ‘Value-in-People’ Award Research Fellow, 2006.
  • Lecturer (source of funding: HEFCE), 2007-. Dept of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Leicester, UK.


Wright, A., M. Mahaut-Smith, F. Symon, N. Sylvius, S. Ran, M. Bafadhel, M. Muessel, P. Bradding, A. Wardlaw, and C. Vial. 2016. Impaired P2X1 Receptor-Mediated Adhesion in Eosinophils from Asthmatic Patients. In J Immunol. 4877-4883

Kauffenstein G, Pelletier J, Lavoie EG, Kukulski F, Martín-Satué M, Dufresne SS, Frenette J, Fürstenau CR, Sereda MJ, Toutain B, Henrion D, Sullivan R, Vial C, Sévigny J. (2014) Nucleoside Triphosphate Diphosphohydrolase-1 Ectonucleotidase Is Required for Normal Vas Deferens Contraction and Male Fertility through Maintaining P2X1 Receptor Function. J Biol Chem. 289, 28629-39.

Taylor K, Wright J, Vial C, Evans RJ & Mahaut-Smith MP. (2014) Amplification of platelet activation by surface pannexin-1 hemichannels. J Thromb Haemost. 12(6), 987-998.

Roberts JA, Allsopp RC, El Ajouz S, Vial C, Schmid R, Young MT & Evans RJ (2012) Agonist bindind evokes extensive conformational changes in the extracellular domain of ATP-gated human P2X1 receptor ion channel. PNAS. 109(12) 4663-4667.

Sereda MJ, Bradding P & Vial C. (2011) Adenosine potentiates human lung mast cell tissue plasminogen activator activity. J.Immunol. 186(2), 1209-1217

Wareham K, Vial C, Wykes R, Bradding P & Seward E (2009) Functional evidence for the expression of P2X1, P2X4 and P2X7 receptors in human lung mast cells. Br J Pharmacol. 157, 1215-1224.

Vial C, Fung CYE, Goodall AH, Mahaut-Smith MP and Evans RJ. (2006) Differential sensitivity of human platelet P2X1 and P2Y1 receptors to disruption of lipid rafts. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 343(2), 415-419.

Vial C and Evans RJ. (2005) Disruption of Lipid rafts inhibits P2X1 receptor-mediated currents and arterial vasoconstriction. J. Biol. Chem. 280(35), 30705-30711.

Tolhurst G, Vial C, Leon C, Gachet C, Evans RJ and Mahaut-Smith MP. (2005) Interplay between P2Y1, P2Y12 and P2X1 receptors in the activation of megakaryocyte cation influx currents by ADP; evidence that the primary megakaryocyte represents a fully functional model of platelet P2 receptor signaling. Blood. 106(5), 1644-1651.

Vial C, Tobin AB and Evans RJ. (2004) G-protein coupled receptor regulation of P2X1 receptors does not involve direct channel phosphorylation. Biochem J. 382 (Pt 1), 101-110.

Vial C, Pitt SJ, Roberts J, Rolf MG, Mahaut-Smith MP and Evans RJ. (2003) Lack of evidence for functional ADP-activated human P2X1 receptors supports a role for ATP during hemostasis and thrombosis. Blood. 102, 3646-51.

Vial C and Evans RJ. (2002) P2X(1) Receptor-Deficient Mice Establish the Native P2X Receptor and a P2Y(6)-Like Receptor in Arteries. (2002) Mol Pharmacol. 62(6):1438-1445.

Vial C, Rolf MG, Mahaut-Smith MP and Evans RJ. (2002) A study of P2X(1) receptor function in murine megakaryocytes and human platelets reveals synergy with P2Y receptors. Br J Pharmacol. 135(2):363-372.

Vial C and Evans RJ. (2001) Smooth muscles does not have a common P2x receptor phenotype: expression, ontogeny and function of P2x1 receptors in mouse ileum, bladder and reproductive systems.Auton Neurosci. 92(1-2):56-64.


  • Investigating the contribution of the extracellular nucleotides to lung function (particularly during the development of asthma).
  • Role of P2 receptors in the hematopoietic lineage (e.g. platelets and immunes cells)


A rise in extracellular nucleotide (e.g. ATP, ADP, UTP, UDP) concentration occurs following degranulation, tissue damage, apoptosis, osmotic shock, mechanical stress, hypoxia and inflammation. Extracellular nucleotides act on plasma membrane P2 receptors to mediate numerous physiological responses including regulation of vascular tone, platelet aggregation immune regulation. P2 receptors are well represented in the circulatory, immune and nervous systems. They are found for example on smooth muscle (e.g. bladder, blood vessel wall), endothelium (e.g. blood vessel inner lining), haematic/immune cells (e.g. platelets, mast cells, eosinophils, neutrohils). There are currently 15 known genes coding for P2 receptors: seven ionotropic P2X receptor (P2X1-7) genes and eight metabotropic P2Y receptor (P2Y1,2,4,6,11-14) genes (not including the variants).

Past research

Previously, my research has focused on the study of P2 receptors in the circulatory system (arteries and haematic cells). I have participated to the identification and characterisation the P2X and P2Y receptors expressed on human platelets and shown their involvement in platelet aggregation, demonstrated the functional role of homomeric P2X1 receptors in smooth muscle (bladder, the renal system, male reproductive organs, gut) and in blood cells (platelets and megakaryocytes). I have also investigated the contribution of P2X1 and different subtypes of P2Y receptors in smooth muscle contraction and in thrombosis, showing the important role of P2 receptors in circulatory system.

Current research area

Asthma affects the airways or bronchial tubes which transport air in and out of the lungs. In the lungs of people with asthma, the airways are irritated. The lining of the bronchial tubes becomes swollen, the muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes (airway smooth muscles or ASM) go into spasm and there is an over-production of mucus. Altogether, these events render the airways narrower, making it more difficult for the air to go in and out of the lungs.
We are investigating the contribution of the extracellular nucleotides to lung function, and more particularly to the development of asthma under two different angles. First, the inflammatory side which involves the recruitment and activation of different types of immune cells (e.g. mast cells and eosinophils). Second, the excessive bronchoconstriction observed in people with asthma, mediated by airway smooth muscle cell malfunction. This research as a significant clinical impact as I am working in collaboration with clinicians from the Institute for Lung Health, Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Blood cells (e.g. platelets and immune cells) are very important for haemostasis and immune responses. Their production, differentiation and maturation is regulated by many factors including extracellular nucleotides. We are investigating the role of P2 receptors for extracellular nucleotides in the hematopoietic lineage.


Methods currently used in our laboratory include:

  • Patch clamp recording of currents flowing through ion channels from whole cells
  • Recombinant approaches to generate molecular constructs for the manipulation of channels and signalling pathways in native cells: dominant negatives, overexpression, RNA interference
  • Fluorescent measurements of intracellular [Ca2+]
  • Imaging methods to detect location and movement of EGFP-tagged proteins
  • Molecular biology (RT-PCR, qPCR, cloning…)
  • Biochemistry (Western Blotting, immunoprecipitation…)
  • Cell culture (various primary cells and cell lines Human cell isolation, e.g. eosinophils)
  • Flow cytomery
  • 3D gel migration

Research group funding


Research group members

Adam Smith (PhD student)
Anna Fortuny (Erasmus Student)

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Contact Details

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

T: +44(0)116 229 7038

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Redfearn Lecture 2017

To Be Confirmed