Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Extension of chemotactic pseudopods by nonadherent human neutrophils does not require or cause calcium bursts


Global bursts in free intracellular calcium (Ca2+) are among the most conspicuous signaling events in immune cells. To test the common view that Ca2+ bursts mediate rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton in response to the activation of G protein-coupled receptors, we combined single-cell manipulation with fluorescence imaging and monitored the Ca2+ concentration in individual human neutrophils during complement-mediated chemotaxis. By decoupling purely chemotactic pseudopod formation from cell-substrate adhesion, we showed that physiological concentrations of anaphylatoxins, such as C5a, induced nonadherent human neutrophils to form chemotactic pseudopods but did not elicit Ca2+ bursts. By contrast, pathological or supraphysiological concentrations of C5a often triggered Ca2+ bursts, but pseudopod protrusion stalled or reversed in such cases, effectively halting chemotaxis, similar to sepsis-associated neutrophil paralysis. The maximum increase in cell surface area during pseudopod extension in pure chemotaxis was much smaller-by a factor of 8-than the known capacity of adherent human neutrophils to expand their surface. Because the measured rise in cortical tension was not sufficient to account for this difference, we attribute the limited deformability to a reduced ability of the cytoskeleton to generate protrusive force in the absence of cell adhesion. Thus, we hypothesize that Ca2+ bursts in neutrophils control a mechanistic switch between two distinct modes of cytoskeletal organization and dynamics. A key element of this switch appears to be the expedient coordination of adhesion-dependent lock or release events of cytoskeletal membrane anchors.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View