• Polymorphonuclear leukocyte;
  • Spreading;
  • Cytoplasmic pH;
  • Protein kinase C;
  • Actin cytoskeleton;
  • Myristoylated alanine rich C-kinase substrate


Cytoplasmic pH (pHi) plays an important role in the regulation of polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) spreading, but the molecular mechanisms involved have long been obscure. In the present study, we investigated the pH-dependence of phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-induced PMN spreading. A change in pHi alone did not induce spreading, but cytoplasmic alkalinization promoted the spreading induced by PMA, whereas acidification inhibited it. To further investigate the mechanism by which pHi affects cell spreading, we employed subcellular fractionation and immunoblot analyses to evaluate the effect of pH on the subcellular distribution of protein kinase C (PKC) and assembly of the actin cytoskeleton. We found that cytoplasmic alkalinization enhanced PKC membrane distribution and quantitatively up-regulated the actin cytoskeleton. On the other hand, cytoplasmic acidification was found to have effects on these signaling molecules that were opposite to those of cytoplasmic alkalinization. These results may provide a potential explanation for the pH-regulation of the PMA-induced PMN spreading.