In this report we show that interferon gamma treatment of U937 cells induces increased expression of the gamma-subunit of the high-affinity Fc receptor for IgG (Fc gamma RI). Interferon treatment results in a 10-fold increased expression of the gamma-subunit and induces expression of a phosphorylated form (gamma 1). The increased expression of the gamma-subunit correlates with its ability to transmit a signal via Fc gamma R, as measured by activation of the respiratory burst using insoluble immune complexes. During Fc gamma R activation, a mobility shift occurs in the phosphorylated form of this gamma 1-subunit. Phosphoamino acid analysis demonstrates that this gamma 1 subunit is threonine phosphorylated in resting differentiated U937 cells and becomes predominantly serine phosphorylated on Fc receptor activation. The mobility shift in the gamma-subunit can be induced by treating U937 cells with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate or by monoclonal antibody cross-linking of Fc gamma RI. Hence the gamma-subunit is serine phosphorylated in response to Fc gamma RI and protein kinase C activation. Therefore the gamma-subunit, initially described as a subunit of Fc epsilon RI, now appears to be involved in signal transduction via Fc gamma RI. The data also suggest that the gamma-subunit, in contrast with the zeta-subunit of the T-cell receptor-CD3 complex, is a substrate for serine/threonine kinase(s) in the cell. The serine phosphorylation of the gamma-subunit suggests a divergence of structure and function between the gamma-subunit and its homologue, the zeta-subunit of the T-cell receptor. Phosphorylation of the gamma-subunit on serine may play some regulatory role in Fc gamma RI signal transduction in myeloid cells.

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