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J Leukoc Biol. 2012 Oct;92(4):869-82. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0512244. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Effects of IFN-γ on intracellular trafficking and activity of macrophage NADPH oxidase flavocytochrome b558.

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Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Department of Pediatrics (Hematology/Oncology), James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.


Flavocytochrome b(558), the catalytic core of the phagocyte NADPH oxidase (NOX2), mediates electron transfer from NADPH to molecular oxygen to generate superoxide, the precursor of highly ROS for host defense. Flavocytochrome b(558) is an integral membrane heterodimer consisting of a large glycosylated subunit, gp91(phox), and a smaller subunit, p22(phox). We recently showed in murine macrophages that flavocytochrome b(558) localizes to the PM and Rab11-positive recycling endosomes, whereas in primary hMDMs, gp91(phox) and p22(phox) reside in the PM and the ER. The antimicrobial activity of macrophages, including ROS production, is greatly enhanced by IFN-γ, but how this is achieved is incompletely understood. To further define the mechanisms by which IFN-γ enhances macrophage NADPH oxidase activity, we evaluated changes in flavocytochrome b(558) expression and localization, along with NADPH oxidase activity, in IFN-γ stimulated RAW 264.7 cells and primary murine BMDMs and hMDMs. We found that enhanced capacity for ROS production is, in part, a result of increased protein expression of gp91(phox) and p22(phox) but also demonstrate that IFN-γ induced a shift in the predominant localization of gp91(phox) and p22(phox) from intracellular membrane compartments to the PM. Our results are the first to show that a cytokine can change the distribution of macrophage flavocytochrome b(558) and provide a potential, new mechanism by which IFN-γ modulates macrophage antimicrobial activity. Altogether, our data suggest that the mechanisms by which IFN-γ regulates antimicrobial activity of macrophages are more complex than previously appreciated.

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