NADPH oxidase of human neutrophils. Subcellular localization and characterization of an arachidonate-activatable superoxide-generating system.

R. A. Clark, K. G. Leidal, D. W. Pearson, W. M. Nauseef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


The superoxide-forming NADPH oxidase of human neutrophils was studied in subcellular fractions of unstimulated cells. Purified neutrophils were disrupted by nitrogen cavitation and separated on Percoll density gradients into four fractions: alpha, azurophil granules; beta, mostly specific granules; gamma, plasma membrane, and cytosol. NADPH-dependent O2-. formation by these fractions was quantitated as the rate of superoxide dismutase-inhibitable reduction of ferricytochrome c. In the presence of cytosol, NADPH, and either arachidonic acid (optimum 90 microM) or sodium dodecyl sulfate (optimum 160 microM), 70-75% of the oxidase was in the beta fraction and about 25% was in the gamma fraction. A similar distribution was found for cytochrome b559 and FAD, two putative components of the oxidase. The reaction rates observed with arachidonic acid activation were sufficient to account for 25-75% of the O2-. generated by intact neutrophils. The properties of the beta and gamma enzymes were similar and closely resembled those of the oxidase in intact neutrophils or disrupted prestimulated cells. These included resistance to azide and cyanide, a pH optimum of 7.4, and a preference for NADPH (Km approximately 40-45 microM) rather than NADH (Km approximately 2.5 mM) as the electron donor. The combination of beta and gamma fractions displayed additive activity. The activatable oxidase required Mg2+ but not Ca2+. ATP was required for maximum reaction rates. When beta and gamma membranes were preincubated with cytosol and arachidonic acid in the presence of millimolar Mg2+ and then ultracentrifuged membrane-bound O2-. -forming activity was recovered in the pellet and the enzyme required only NADPH (i.e. no cytosol, arachidonic acid, or Mg2+) for expression of activity. These data suggest that cytosol contains a Mg2+-dependent oxidase-activating factor. Molecular sieve chromatography of cytosol indicated a single peak of activity (i.e. ability to activate O2-. generation by beta and/or gamma fraction) eluting with molecules of about 10,000 daltons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4065-4074
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 25 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'NADPH oxidase of human neutrophils. Subcellular localization and characterization of an arachidonate-activatable superoxide-generating system.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this