Nitrobenzoxadiazole-phallacidin in combination with quantitative fluorescent microscopy have been used to measure F-actin concentrations in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) as they adhere to a plastic surface. Like stimulation with chemoattractants, adherence is associated with a twofold rise in F-actin content. However unlike the rapid rise in F-actin induced by chemoattractants which peaks within 30 s, actin assembly induced by adherence is slower, maximum F-actin values not being observed until 10 min. Furthermore the rise in F-actin induced by adherence is persistent, remaining constant over 60 min while F-actin returns to near basal levels after 20 min exposure to chemoattractant. The combination of adherence (5 min) followed by chemoattractant (FMLP 5 x 10(-8) M for 40 s) resulted in an additive rise in F-actin content to greater than threefold over unstimulated values. Unlike chemoattractant induced actin assembly, adherence-associated PMN actin polymerization was not inhibited by pertussis toxin, but was markedly reduced by lowering extracellular Ca2+. Fluorescent micrographs of adherent PMN stained with nitrobenzoxadiazole-phallacidin revealed F-actin in the lamellipodia and in small foci on the adherent surface. These findings suggest that the transduction mechanisms by which adherence induces PMN actin polymerization differ from those used by chemoattractant receptors.

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