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J Biol Chem. 2000 Apr 14;275(15):10968-75.

ERK1 and ERK2 activation by chemotactic factors in human eosinophils is interleukin 5-dependent and contributes to leukotriene C(4) biosynthesis.

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  • 1Department of Biomolecular Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Eosinophils, the major immune effector cells contributing to allergic inflammation and asthma, are profoundly affected by interleukin (IL) 5 with respect to their differentiation, viability, recruitment, and cytotoxic effector functions. IL-5 enhances eosinophil responsiveness to a variety of chemotactic factors via a process called priming, although the molecular mechanism is unknown. In this study, we report that, following IL-5 priming of eosinophils, chemotactic agents including fMet-Leu-Phe, IL-8, and RANTES, promote vigorous transient activation of ERK1 and ERK2. In contrast, these chemotactic factors stimulate weak or indiscernible ERK activation in unprimed eosinophils. Furthermore, this intracellular marker of priming is selective for IL-5-related cytokines, in that it is observed following exposure to IL-5 and granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor but not to interferon-gamma, stem cell factor, tumor necrosis factor alpha, or IL-4. Interestingly, priming of chemoattractant-induced ERK activation is accompanied by an increase in association of tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins with the adapter protein Grb2. The biological relevance of ERK activation to IL-5 priming is supported by the observation that inhibition of ERK activity by treatment with the MEK inhibitors PD98059 or U0126 inhibited the release of leukotriene C(4) stimulated by fMet-Leu-Phe in IL-5-primed eosinophils. These data provide evidence for a previously undescribed fundamental mechanism by which stimulation of IL-5 family receptors induces a rapid phenotypic alteration in the signal transduction pathways of chemotactic receptors, enabling their activation of the ERK1 and ERK2 pathway and contributing to the capacity of these cells to synthesize LTC(4).

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