Physiological and pharmacological studies have shown that ATP has potent effects on developing chick skeletal muscle. These effects have previously been shown to be developmentally regulated, and the responses were characteristic of activation of the P2X ligand-gated ion-channel family of ATP receptors. Here, using immunohistochemistry, we describe the expression patterns of two members of the P2X receptor family, P2X5 and P2X6, during development of skeletal muscle in the chick embryo. These receptors were first expressed at early stages of skeletal muscle development, and expression disappeared immediately before the stage at which fusion of myoblasts to form myotubes occurs. P2X5 was also demonstrated in nerves supplying developing skeletal muscle, in some dorsal root ganglion cells, and in dorsal and ventral spinal cord. No expression of the other five members of the P2X family were demonstrated in developing skeletal muscle.