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Redox Rep. 2001;6(1):27-36.

Evaluation of the process for superoxide production by NADPH oxidase in human neutrophils: evidence for cytoplasmic origin of superoxide.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Kochi Medical School, Japan.


We present an up-to-date insight into the function of NADPH oxidase in human neutrophils, the signalling pathways involved in activation of this enzyme and the process of association of its components with the cytoskeleton. We also discuss the functional implications of morphological studies revealing localization of the sites of NADPH oxidase activity. An original model of the process of superoxide (O2*-) production in human neutrophils is shown. Organization of NADPH oxidase is associated with several components. Upon stimulation, tri-phox cytosolic components of NADPH oxidase (p40-phox, p47-phox and p67-phox) bind to actin filaments. This process involves other actin-binding proteins, such as cofilin and coronin. Activated protein kinase C, translocated from the plasma membrane, phosphorylates cytosolic components at a scaffold of cytoskeleton. Subsequently, p40-phox, responsible for maintaining the resting state of NADPH oxidase, is separated from other two cytosolic phox proteins following an attachment of the active form of small GTP-binding protein Rac to p67-phox. Cytosolic duo-phox proteins (p47-phox and p67-phox) conjugate with membrane components (gp91-phox, p22-phox and Rapla) of NADPH oxidase residing within membranes of intracellular compartments. This chain of events triggers production of O2*-. Then, oxidant-producing intracellular compartments associate with the plasma membrane. Eventually, intracellularly produced O2*- is released to the extracellular environment through the orifice formed by fusion of oxidant-producing compartments with the plasma membrane. Intracellular movement of the oxidant-producing compartments may be regulated by myosin light chain kinase. The review emphasizes that functional assembly of NADPH oxidase and, therefore, generation of O2*- is accomplished essentially within the intracellular compartments. Upon neutrophil stimulation, intracellularly generated O2*- is transported to the plasma membrane to be released and to ensure host defense against infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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