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J Leukoc Biol. 2004 Oct;76(4):760-81. Epub 2004 Jul 7.

Structure and regulation of the neutrophil respiratory burst oxidase: comparison with nonphagocyte oxidases.

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Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology, Montana State University, Bozeman 59717-3610, USA.


Neutrophils play an essential role in the body's innate defense against pathogens and are one of the primary mediators of the inflammatory response. To defend the host, neutrophils use a wide range of microbicidal products, such as oxidants, microbicidal peptides, and lytic enzymes. The generation of microbicidal oxidants by neutrophils results from the activation of a multiprotein enzyme complex known as the reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase, which is responsible for transferring electrons from NADPH to O2, resulting in the formation of superoxide anion. During oxidase activation, cytosolic oxidase proteins translocate to the phagosome or plasma membrane, where they assemble around a central membrane-bound component known as flavocytochrome b. This process is highly regulated, involving phosphorylation, translocation, and multiple conformational changes. Originally, it was thought that the NADPH oxidase was restricted to phagocytes and used solely in host defense. However, recent studies indicate that similar NADPH oxidase systems are present in a wide variety of nonphagocytic cells. Although the nature of these nonphagocyte NADPH oxidases is still being defined, it is clear that they are functionally distinct from the phagocyte oxidases. It should be noted, however, that structural features of many nonphagocyte oxidase proteins do seem to be similar to those of their phagocyte counterparts. In this review, key structural and functional features of the neutrophil NADPH oxidase and its protein components are described, including a consideration of transcriptional and post-translational regulatory features. Furthermore, relevant details about structural and functional features of various nonphagocyte oxidase proteins will be included for comparison.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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