Activation of human neutrophil NADPH oxidase requires the interaction of cytosolic and membrane-associated components. Evidence has been accumulated that in phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-stimulated neutrophils, the translocation to the plasma membrane of the cytosolic components p47phox and p67phox and the phosphorylation of p47phox are essential steps in activation of NADPH oxidase. No direct evidence has been presented to date as to whether p67phox is also phosphorylated. To address this problem we have immunoprecipitated p67phox from neutrophil cytosol and membrane fractions. The results indicate that, very soon after activation with PMA (20 s), p67phox was present in a phosphorylated form in the cytosol and in the membranes. At later times (1-3 min) the extent of p67phox phosphorylation continuously increased both in the cytosol and in the membrane fraction, while oxygen consumption reached the maximal rate within 40 s, and then remained linear. p67phox was also phosphorylated in formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine-activated neutrophils. That the phosphorylated p67 protein we identified in immunoprecipitation experiments was p67phox was confirmed by the observation that no phosphorylated band of 67 kDa was immunoprecipitated from the cytosol and membranes of PMA-stimulated neutrophils from a p67phox-deficient chronic granulomatous disease patient. In this case, p47phox was normally phosphorylated. These data demonstrate that: (1) the phosphorylation of p67phox is correlated with activation of NADPH oxidase, and (2) continuous phosphorylation of p67phox is required in order to maintain the linearity of the respiratory burst.

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