The phosphorylation of p47phox is widely viewed as an important step in the activation of the neutrophil respiratory burst oxidase system. The exact nature of the kinase(s) responsible remains to be elucidated. We show here that such a kinase was detected on neutrophil membranes activated by either PMA or formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine. This enzyme is not intrinsic to the neutrophil membrane and could be eluted with 0.5 M NaCl. The kinase activity was partially purified and was found not to be due to the presence of previously suggested kinases, including protein kinase C isotypes, mitogen-activated protein kinase and protein kinase B. Gel filtration and renaturation in substrate gels suggest a molecular mass of between 45 and 51 kDa. The kinase activity was independent of calcium and lipids but was potently inhibited by staurosporine. Treatment with protein phosphatase 2Ac suggested that the kinase was activated by serine/threonine phosphorylation. Phosphopeptide maps indicated that the kinase phosphorylated p47phox on similar sites to those found in vivo. These results indicate that activation of neutrophils by PMA results in the activation of a membrane-associated kinase that may play a part in the regulation of neutrophil NADPH oxidase through its ability to phosphorylate p47phox.

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