Myristoylated, alanine-rich C-kinase substrate (MARCKS) is a lipopolysaccharide-induced protein kinase C (PKC) substrate that has been proposed to regulate actin-membrane interactions, as well as actin structure at the membrane. We studied the distribution of MARCKS, the alpha isozyme of PKC (PKC alpha), and myosin I in lipopolysaccharide-treated peritoneal macrophages ingesting zymosan particles. MARCKS, PKC alpha, and myosin I colocalized with F-actin and talin in the cortical cytoplasm adjacent to forming phagocytic cups. After particle ingestion was completed, myosin I, F-actin, and talin were no longer enriched in the vicinity of the phagosome. By contrast, MARCKS and PKC alpha remained associated with the phagosome membrane until after acquisition of the lysosomal marker Lamp-1. Vinculin was not detected on phagosomes at any time point examined. Phagocytosis of zymosan was accompanied by rapid and sustained phosphorylation of MARCKS. Inhibitors of PKC reduced zymosan binding to the macrophage surface and blocked the focal accumulation of F-actin, talin, phosphotyrosine-containing proteins, MARCKS, and PKC alpha beneath attached particles. We propose that PKC-dependent phosphorylation is an early signal required for zymosan phagocytosis and that MARCKS and PKC alpha have a role in phagosome maturation. The colocalization of F-actin and MARCKS at the cytoplasmic face of the nascent phagosome reinforces the hypothesis that MARCKS regulates actin structure at the membrane. Our data also suggest that myosin I functions as a mechanical motor during particle uptake.

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