Formyl peptide receptor activation of three mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades, extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs), N-terminal kinases (JNKs), and p38 MAPK was examined in differentiated HL-60 granulocytes. FMLP stimulated a concentration- and time-dependent increase in ERK, JNK, and p38 MAPK activities, all of which were dependent on a pertussis toxin-sensitive G protein. Pharmacologic inhibitors were used to examine the roles of tyrosine kinases, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, protein kinase C, and phospholipase C. FMLP-stimulated ERK activity was dependent on tyrosine kinases, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, protein kinase C, and phospholipase C; p38 MAPK activation was dependent on phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and phospholipase C; while JNK activation was independent of all of these signaling components. The mitogen-activated protein kinase/ERK kinase inhibitor PD098059 reduced ERK activation by 90%, while an inhibitor of p38 MAPK, SB203580, inhibited p38 MAPK activation by 80%. Both PD098059 and SB203580 inhibited FMLP-stimulated superoxide release, as did inhibitors directed against protein kinase C, tyrosine kinases, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. We conclude that formyl peptide receptors are coupled to three MAPK cascades by Gi proteins. ERKs, p38 MAPK, and JNKs are each activated by distinct proximal signal transduction pathways. Activation of p38 MAPK is necessary for FMLP stimulation of respiratory burst activity; however, a second signal that may involve ERK is also required for this activity.

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