Chemoattractant-stimulated polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) that are adherent to extracellular matrix proteins exhibit a massive, sustained respiratory burst that requires cell spreading. However, the signaling pathways culminating in PMN spreading are not well characterized. Studies showing that protein tyrosine phosphorylation increases with PMN spreading suggest that phosphorylation is critical for this process. In the present study, we observed increased tyrosine phosphorylation of both focal adhesion kinase and Syk in FMLP-activated PMNs that had been plated onto fibrinogen; an increase in Syk activity, but not focal adhesion kinase activity, was apparent. The time course of Syk phosphorylation correlated with the initiation of cell spreading and H2O2 release. Pretreatment of PMNs with piceatannol, a Syk-selective inhibitor, blocked Syk activity, cell spreading, and H2O2 release, indicating that Syk activity was required for the activation of adherent PMNs. Paxillin is a cytoskeletally associated protein that is also tyrosine phosphorylated during PMN spreading and H2O2 release. Paxillin phosphorylation is kinetically slower than Syk phosphorylation and is inhibited with piceatannol, suggesting that paxillin is a substrate for Syk. An analysis of Syk immunoprecipitates indicated that Syk and paxillin associate during PMN spreading. This interaction is not mediated by the src kinases Lyn and Fgr, since neither kinase coprecipitated with Syk. Syk from FMLP-activated, adherent PMNs phosphorylated paxillin-glutathione S-transferase, suggesting that paxillin is a substrate for Syk in vivo. These results indicate that PMN spreading and H2O2 release require a Syk-dependent signaling pathway leading to paxillin phosphorylation.
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