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J Leukoc Biol. 2005 Nov;78(5):1025-42. Epub 2005 Oct 4.

Structural organization of the neutrophil NADPH oxidase: phosphorylation and translocation during priming and activation.

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Department of Surgery, Denver Health Medical Center, Colorado, USA.


The reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase is part of the microbicidal arsenal used by human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) to eradicate invading pathogens. The production of a superoxide anion (O2-) into the phagolysosome is the precursor for the generation of more potent products, such as hydrogen peroxide and hypochlorite. However, this production of O2- is dependent on translocation of the oxidase subunits, including gp91phox, p22phox, p47phox, p67phox, p40phox, and Rac2 from the cytosol or specific granules to the plasma membrane. In response to an external stimuli, PMNs change from a resting, nonadhesive state to a primed, adherent phenotype, which allows for margination from the vasculature into the tissue and chemotaxis to the site of infection upon activation. Depending on the stimuli, primed PMNs display altered structural organization of the NADPH oxidase, in that there is phosphorylation of the oxidase subunits and/or translocation from the cytosol to the plasma or granular membrane, but there is not the complete assembly required for O2- generation. Activation of PMNs is the complete assembly of the membrane-linked and cytosolic NADPH oxidase components on a PMN membrane, the plasma or granular membrane. This review will discuss the individual components associated with the NADPH oxidase complex and the function of each of these units in each physiologic stage of the PMN: rested, primed, and activated.

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