Pertussis toxin treatment of rabbit peritoneal neutrophils causes a concentration-dependent inhibition of granule enzyme secretion induced by formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine, C5a, and leukotriene B4. It also inhibits chemotaxis induced by formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine. The same toxin treatment, however, has no effect on granule enzyme secretion induced by the calcium ionophore A23187 or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. Moreover, pertussis toxin treatment does not affect either the number or affinity of the formylpeptide receptors on the neutrophil nor does it have any effect on the unstimulated levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP) or the transient rise in cAMP induced by chemotactic factor stimulation in these cells. We hypothesize that pertussis toxin, as in other cells, interacts with a GTP binding regulatory protein identical with or analogous to either Ni or transducin which mediates the receptor-induced inhibition or activation of a target protein or proteins required in neutrophil activation. The nature of the target protein is unknown, but it is not the catalytic unit of adenylate cyclase. The target protein acts after binding of chemotactic factor to its receptor in the sequence that leads to the receptor-induced rise in intracellular Ca2+. It does not affect the responses elicited by the direct introduction of calcium into the cells or the activity of protein kinase C.

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