Intracellular phosphorylations polymorphonuclear neutrophils are mediated by kinases, including mitogen activated-protein (MAP) kinases and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. In the present study we demonstrate their effector functions upon both ligation of cell-surface seven-transmembrane-spanning receptors by bacterial peptide formylmethionyl-leucylphenylalanine as well as in the process of destruction of Staphylococcus aureus. To regulate neutrophil MAP kinases p38 and p44/42, specifically, we made use of their specific inhibitors 10 µM SK&F 86002 (for p38) and PD 098059 (for activating kinase of p44/42). SK&F 86002 was a potent inhibitor (by 70%) of induced antimicrobial oxygen-radical generation compared with PD 098059 (by 20%). SK&F 86002 and PD 098059 inhibited mobilization of a dominant neutrophil adhesion molecule, β2 integrin, from cytoplasmic granules to the plasma membrane by 40 and 10% respectively, and the combination of the two drugs resulted in a 90% effect. The combined effect of both drugs was moderate inhibition of bacterial destruction, despite the fact that neither compound had detectable effect on bactericidal activity if applied individually. Bacterial destruction was also inhibited by wortmannin (0.1 µM), the specific inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, which had previously been described to target various other activations of the neutrophil, including oxygen-radical generation. Although the relative contribution of p38 and p44/42 MAP kinases varied, the marked effects of the combined inhibition of the kinases revealed their concerted actions to be critical for normal neutrophil function.

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Author notes


Present address and address for correspondence: Institute of Physiology, rue du Musée 5, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland.