The molecular basis of phospholipase D2-induced chemotaxis: Elucidation of differential pathways in macrophages and fibroblasts

Katie Knapek, Kathleen Frondorf, Jennalee Post, Stephen Short, Dianne Cox, Julian Gomez-Cambronero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We report the molecular mechanisms that underlie chemotaxis of macrophages and cell migration of fibroblasts, cells that are essential during the body's innate immune response and during wound repair, respectively. Silencing of phospholipase D1 (PLD1) and PLD2 reduced cell migration (both chemokinesis and chemotaxis) by ∼60% and >80%, respectively; this migration was restored by cell transfection with PLD2 constructs refractory to small interfering RNA (siRNA). Cells overexpressing active phospholipase D1 (PLD1) but, mostly, active PLD2 exhibited cell migration capabilities that were elevated over those elicited by chemoattractants alone. The mechanism for this enhancement is complex. It involves two pathways: one that is dependent on the activity of the lipase (and signals through its product, phosphatidic acid [PA]) and another that involves protein-protein interactions. The first is evidenced by partial abrogation of chemotaxis with lipase activity-defective constructs (PLD2-K758R) and by n-butanol treatment of cells. The second is evidenced by PLD association with the growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb2) through residue Y 169, located within a Src homology 2 (SH2) consensus site. The association Grb2-PLD2 could be visualized by fluorescence microscopy in RAW/LR5 macrophages concentrated in actin-rich membrane ruffles, making possible that Grb2 serves as a docking or intermediary protein. The Grb2/PLD2-mediated chemotaxis process also depends on Grb2's ability to recognize other motility proteins, like the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP). Cell transfection with WASP, PLD2, and Grb2 constructs yields the highest levels of cell migration response, particularly in a macrophage cell line (RAW/LR5) and only modestly in the fibroblast cell line COS-7. Further, RAW/LR5 macrophages utilize for cell migration an additional pathway that involves S6 kinase (S6K) through PLD2-Y296, known to be phosphorylated by epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase. Thus, both fibroblasts and macrophages use activity-dependent and activity-independent signaling mechanisms. However, highly mobile cells like macrophages use all signaling machinery available to them to accomplish their required function in rapid immune response, which sets them apart from fibroblasts, cells normally nonmobile that are only briefly involved in wound healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4492-4506
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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