Previous studies have indicated that the receptor for N-formylated peptides present on human neutrophils can exist in several ligand-dissociation states at least one of which is sensitive to guanine nucleotides. Human neutrophil membranes rich in cell surface enzyme markers have been isolated from cells pretreated at 37 degrees C with 5 nM fluoresceinated chemotactic peptide (N-formyl-Nle-Leu-Phe-Nle-Tyr-Lys-fluorescein; Fl-peptide) or a buffer control and analyzed for receptor-ligand dissociation states using a previously published fluorescence assay for estimating ligand binding and dissociation rates (Sklar, L. A., et al. 1984. J. Biol. Chem. 259:5661-5669). Fractionation of crude microsomes derived from homogenates of unstimulated cells by ultracentrifugation on linear D2O gradients yielded two plasma membrane-rich fractions termed fast and slow microsomes. Analysis of Fl-peptide dissociation rates from receptor present in fast membrane fractions of unstimulated cells yielded data that could be best fit by assuming that the receptor exists in three distinct ligand-dissociation states. The intermediate ligand-dissociation state (state B) accounted for 47% of the total and was converted to the fastest ligand-dissociation state (state A) by incubation of membranes with GTP or GTP-gamma-S. The remainder of the receptor (17%) present in unstimulated membranes was in a state from which ligand was virtually nondissociable (state C). This form of the receptor was insensitive to GTP-gamma-S. When cells were stimulated with Fl-peptide, most of the receptor present in slow and fast membranes was of the state C type. In contrast to unstimulated cells, slow membranes derived from cells exposed to Fl-peptide contained the majority of the recoverable receptor indicating that receptor was transferred to a physically isolatable membrane domain after ligand binding to the intact cell. The ligand-induced formation of state C in both fast and slow microsome fractions was inhibited by treatment of cells with dihydrocytochalasin B. However, the drug had no effect on translocation of the receptor to slow membranes. Pertussis toxin treatment of intact cells had no effect on ligand-induced formation of state C in either fraction even though other cellular responses were inhibited. Both slow and fast membranes contained a 41-kD G protein as assayed by immunoblot analysis. The data suggest that ligand induces a segregation of receptor-ligand complexes into a membrane domain in which the receptor is functionally uncoupled from the 41-kD neutrophil G protein.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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