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The signalling lipid phosphatidic acid (PA) is generated by the hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine (PC), which is catalysed by phospholipase D (PLD) enzymes. Neutrophils, important cells of the innate immune system, maintain the body's defence against infection. Previous studies have implicated PLD-generated PA in neutrophil function; these have relied heavily on the use of primary alcohols to act as inhibitors of PA production. The recent development of isoform-selective small molecule inhibitors and the generation of a knockout mouse model provide us with accurate tools to study the role of PLDs in neutrophil responses. We show that PLD1 is a regulator of phorbol-ester-, chemoattractant, adhesion-dependent and Fcγ-receptor-stimulated production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in neutrophils. Significantly we found that this role of PLD is isoform specific: the absence of PLD2 does not negatively affect these processes. Contrary to expectation, other functions required for an efficient immune response operate effectively in Pld2-deficient neutrophils or when both isoforms are inhibited pharmacologically. We conclude that although PLD1 does have important regulatory roles in neutrophils, the field has been confused by the use of primary alcohols; now that gold standard Pld-knockout mouse models are available, previous work might need to be reassessed.

  • Accepted January 25, 2011.
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