In previous studies we demonstrated the triggering of the phospholipase C (PLC) pathway during the activation of an Ag-specific human CD4+ T lymphocyte clone by a mitogenic pair of CD2 (X11,D66) mAb. Similar conditions were applied to investigate a possible involvement of a phospholipase A2 (PLA2) acting as an additional alternative pathway during human T cell activation. Our results show that arachidonic acid or its derivatives are released after CD2 triggering. This release is largely independent of PLC activation and is mediated by a PLA2 because: 1) phosphatidylcholine is the preferential source of [3H]arachidonate release; 2) [3H]arachidonic acid release and phosphatidylcholine hydrolysis are blocked by two inhibitors of solubilized PLA2, mepacrine, and 4-p-bromophenacylbromide; and 3) we evidenced a PLA2 activity in cell homogenates. Extracellular calcium appears to play a critical role because the effects of CD2 mAb were inhibited in a Ca2(+)-depleted medium. In contrast, protein kinase C is not implicated since PMA, a protein kinase C activator, neither stimulated arachidonic acid release nor modulated CD2-induced arachidonic acid release. Cyclic AMP which has been proved to regulate the activity of the PLC in T lymphocytes does not appear to play an important role in the regulation of PLA2 activity since PGE2 has only a minimal effect on [3H]-arachidonate release. Altogether, these findings suggest that CD2 triggering stimulates a PLA2 activity in T lymphocytes via an extracellular Ca2(+)-dependent PLC protein kinase C independent mechanism.

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