Prolonged exposure (8-24 h) of human promonocytic U937 cells to 100 nM 1-O-hexadecyl-2-N-methylcarbamyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (carbarmyl-PAF), a non-metabolizable analogue of platelet-activating factor (PAF), reduced the numbers of PAF receptors by 50-75%, as determined by the radioligand-binding assay. To clarify whether the down-regulation of receptor numbers is due to decreased expression level of the PAF-receptor gene, the effect of carbamyl-PAF on the steady-state level of PAF-receptor mRNA was examined by a highly sensitive reverse-transcriptase PCR method. A 50% decline in the level of PAF-receptor mRNA was observed in U937 cells pretreated with 100 nM carbamyl-PAF for 24 h. The effect of carbamyl-PAF was dose-dependent, with an EC50 value around 10 nM. PAF-receptor antagonist, SRI-63675, was able to attenuate the effect of carbamyl-PAF. Furthermore lysoPAF, at 1 uM, was unable to induce a significant decrease in PAF-receptor mRNA after incubation for 24 h, indicating that the effect of carbamyl-PAF was specific. The half-life of the PAF-receptor mRNA measured in the presence of actinomycin D was unaffected by carbamyl-PAF treatment. In contrast, nuclear run-off experiments demonstrated that the transcription rate of the PAF-receptor gene in carbamyl-PAF-treated cells was about 65% of that in control cells. These results suggest that the PAF receptor in U937 cells is subject to down-regulation by agonist, at least partly, at the transcriptional level.

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