1 Exogenous adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stimulates the short circuit current (SCC) in a cultured renal-derived epithelium (MDCK). Half-maximal stimulation is achieved at 1.91 X 10(-5) M ATP. 2 It is suggested that ATP interacts with a P2 purine receptor upon the basis of (a) agonist potency (ATP greater than adenosine diphosphate much greater than adenosine monophosphate, adenosine; ATP greater than uridine triphosphate greater than inosine triphosphate much greater than cytosine triphosphate, guanosine triphosphate); (b) the inhibition of the ATP response by quinidine (1 X 10(-3) M) but not by theophylline (1 X 10(-3) M). 3 Indomethacin (1 X 10(-5) M) inhibits the response of the cultured epithelium to ATP. 4 Prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) stimulates SCC but potentiates the effect of ATP on SCC. The divalent cationic ionophore A23187 (1 X 10(-6) M) transiently stimulates SCC itself and abolishes ATP-induced stimulation of the SCC.