Assembly of the neutrophil respiratory burst oxidase: Protein kinase C promotes cytoskeletal and membrane association of cytosolic oxidase components

W. M. Nauseef, B. D. Volpp, S. McCormick, K. G. Leidal, R. A. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

297 Scopus citations


Activated human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) convert molecular oxygen into superoxide anion, a process known as the respiratory burst, through the activity of a latent multicomponent NADPH-dependent oxidase. Components of this respiratory burst oxidase include the membrane-bound cytochrome b558 and the cytosolic factors p47-phox and p67-phox. We initiated these studies based on three observations: 1) that stimulation of PMN oxidase activity is associated with translocation of the cytosolic oxidase components to the plasma membrane; 2) that p47-phox is phosphorylated during PMN activation and that there is a sequential relationship between phosphorylation of p47-phox in the cytosol and appearance of the phosphoprotein in the membrane; and 3) that the predicted amino acid sequences of p47-phox and of p67-phox contain regions of homology to the SH3 or A domain of the src family of tyrosine kinases, a region found in a variety of proteins which interact with the cytoskeleton or the subplasmalemmal cytoskeleton. Thus the purpose of our studies was to examine the role of protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent phosphorylation in the stimulus-induced association of p47-phox and p67-phox with the plasma membrane and the cytoskeleton. Using the PKC activator phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) as the agonist, we found that activation of the respiratory burst oxidase was associated with translocation of cytosolic p47-phox and p67-phox to the plasma membrane as well as redistribution of p47-phox to the Triton-insoluble cytoskeleton. Furthermore, the PKC inhibitor staurosporine inhibited phosphorylation of p47-phox, interrupted the redistribution of cytosolic oxidase factors, and blocked PMA-induced generation of superoxide anion. Taken together these results indicate that PKC-dependent phosphorylation of p47-phox correlates with association of p47-phox with the cytoskeleton and with translocation of p47-phox and p67-phox to the plasma membrane, with the ensuing assembly of an active superoxide-generating NADPH-dependent oxidase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5911-5917
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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