Cooperation among plasma membrane receptors in activating signal transduction cascades is not well understood. For almost 20 years, it has been clear that when a particulate foreign body is opsonized with complement as well as IgG, the efficiency of IgG effector functions is markedly enhanced. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in cooperation between IgG Fc receptors and complement receptors have not been elucidated. In this work, we show that when human neutrophils (PMN) are plated on a surface coated with both anti-CR3 and anti-Fc gamma RIII antibodies, the respiratory burst which occurs is equivalent to that stimulated by anti-Fc gamma RII. The CR3 ligand iC3b is as effective as anti-CR3 for cooperating with anti-Fc gamma RIII in generation of a respiratory burst. The synergy between CR3 and Fc gamma RIII for activating the NADPH oxidase is abolished by Fab of anti-Fc gamma RII. Nonetheless, the observed synergy is not an artifact of unintended Fc gamma RII ligation, since (a) only this combination of antibodies works to generate H2O2; (b) coating plates with either of the antibodies alone cannot activate the respiratory burst at any dose; (c) LAD (CR3 deficient) cells, which are perfectly competent to mount a respiratory burst when Fc gamma RII is engaged, are incapable of activating the respiratory burst when adherent to wells coated with anti-Fc gamma RIII and anti-CR3; (d) direct engagement of Fc gamma RII activates the respiratory burst by a pathway pharmacologically distinguishable from the synergistic respiratory burst. Fc gamma RIII/CR3 synergy is abolished by cytochalasin B and herbimicin, suggesting that both the actin cytoskeleton and tyrosine phosphorylation are necessary for activation of the synergistic respiratory burst. Further analysis shows that CR3 and Fc gamma RIII have distinct roles in activation of this Fc gamma RII-dependent assembly of the NADPH oxidase. Ligation of CR3 is sufficient to lead to Fc gamma RII association with the actin cytoskeleton on the adherent PMN surface. Coligation of Fc gamma RIII is required for tyrosine phosphorylation of Fc gamma RII. These data are consistent with a model in which phosphorylation of Fc gamma RII or a closely associated substrate initiates activation of a signal transduction pathway leading to oxidase assembly. These are the first data to demonstrate a molecular mechanism for synergy between IgG Fc and complement receptors in activation of phagocyte effector functions.

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