Stimulation of human neutrophils with the chemotactic N-formyl peptide causes production of oxygen radicals and conversion of monomeric actin (G-actin) to polymeric actin (F-actin). The effects of the binary botulinum C2 toxin on the amount of F-actin and on neutrophil cell responses were studied. Two different methods for analyzing the actin response were used in formyl peptide-stimulated cells: staining of F-actin with rhodamine-phalloidin and a transient right angle light scatter. Preincubation of neutrophils with 400 ng/ml component I and 1,600 ng/ml component II of botulinum C2 toxin for 30 min almost completely inhibited the formyl peptide-stimulated polymerization of G-actin and at the same time decreased the amount of F-actin in unstimulated neutrophils by an average of approximately 30%. Botulinum C2 toxin preincubation for 60 min destroyed approximately 75% of the F-actin in unstimulated neutrophils. Right angle light scatter analysis showed that control neutrophils exhibited the transient response characteristic of actin polymerization; however, after botulinum C2 toxin treatment, degranulation was detected. Single components of the binary botulinum C2 toxin were without effect on the actin polymerization response. Fluorescence flow cytometry and fluorospectrometric binding studies showed little alteration in N-formyl peptide binding or dissociation dynamics in the toxin-treated cells. However, endocytosis of the fluorescent N-formyl peptide ligand-receptor complex was slower but still possible in degranulating neutrophils treated with botulinum C2 toxin for 60 min. The half-time of endocytosis, estimated from initial rates, was 4 and 8 min in control and botulinum C2 toxin-treated neutrophils, respectively.

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