The synthesis of leukotrienes in human blood neutrophils chiefly relies on the activity of two enzymes, phospholipase A2 and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO). In turn, the activation of the 5-LO requires the participation of a recently characterized membrane-bound protein, the 5-LO-activating protein (FLAP). In this study, we have investigated conditions under which FLAP expression in neutrophils may be modulated. Of several cytokines tested, only granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) (and to a lesser extent tumor necrosis factor alpha) significantly increased expression of FLAP. GM-CSF increased FLAP mRNA steady-state levels in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The stimulatory effect of GM-CSF on FLAP mRNA was inhibited by prior treatment of the cells with the transcription inhibitor, actinomycin D, and pretreatment of the cells with the protein synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide, failed to prevent the increase in FLAP mRNA induced by GM-CSF. The accumulation of newly synthesized FLAP, as determined by immunoprecipitation after incorporation of 35S-labeled amino acids, was also increased after incubation of neutrophils with GM-CSF. In addition, the total level of FLAP protein was increased in GM-CSF-treated neutrophils, as determined by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, followed by Western blot. GM-CSF did not alter the stability of the FLAP protein, indicating that the effect of GM-CSF on FLAP accumulation was the consequence of increased de novo synthesis as opposed to decreased degradation of FLAP. Finally, incubation of neutrophils with the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone directly stimulated the upregulation of FLAP mRNA and protein, and enhanced the effect of GM-CSF. Taken together, these data demonstrate that FLAP expression may be upmodulated after appropriate stimulation of neutrophils. The increase in FLAP expression induced by GM-CSF in inflammatory conditions could confer upon neutrophils a prolonged capacity to synthesize leukotrienes.

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