Phorbol ester induces transient focal concentrations of functional, newly expressed CR3 in neutrophils at sites of specific granule exocytosis

K. B. Pryzwansky, T. Wyatt, W. Reed, G. D. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Treatment of neutrophils with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) increases surface expression of CR3 (iC3b-receptor; CD11b/CD18). This up-regulation was examined in whole-mount preparations of adherent neutrophils by stereo high voltage immunoelectron microscopy. In the absence of PMA, immunogold-labeled CR3 was uniformly distributed in the plasma membrane. After 5 to 15-min incubations with PMA, when the highest rates of specific granule exocytosis occurred, the average density of CR3 in the membrane doubled. During this time, dense foci of CR3 were observed in addition to the uniform distribution of CR3. These dense concentrations of CR3 colocalized with secreted lactoferrin (LF), a specific granule marker, above assemblies of cytoplasmic vesicles that were morphologically similar to specific granules and contained LF. After longer incubations in PMA, LF secretion ceased, LF staining became rare, and the high density areas of CR3 were no longer present. These data demonstrate that incipient CR3 appear on the cell surface in high concentration at sites of specific granule exocytosis and then diffuse out into the plasmalemma. PMA also induced shedding of CR3 from the cell surface at the cell margins on structures which also contained LF. Shed CR3 was immunoprecipitated from incubation supernatants and shown to be of identical subunit composition to surface CR3. Although others have shown that the mobile, incipient surface CR3 do not mediate neutrophil adherence to endothelium or homotypic aggregation, the current experiments demonstrated that such CR3 do mediate iC3b-dependent adhesion. The rapid appearance and subsequent dissipation of high concentrations of CR3 on the neutrophil surface caused by specific granule fusion may be essential for neutrophil function at sites of complement deposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-75
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • complement
  • lactoferrin
  • neutrophil
  • receptor
  • secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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