Voltage-gated proton currents regulate generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in phagocytic cells. In B cells, stimulation of the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) results in the production of ROS that participate in B cell activation, but the involvement of proton channels is unknown. We report here that the voltage-gated proton channel HVCN1 associated with the BCR complex and was internalized together with the BCR after activation. BCR-induced generation of ROS was lower in HVCN1-deficient B cells, which resulted in attenuated BCR signaling via impaired BCR-dependent oxidation of the tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1. This resulted in less activation of the kinases Syk and Akt, impaired mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis and diminished antibody responses in vivo. Our findings identify unanticipated functions for proton channels in B cells and demonstrate the importance of ROS in BCR signaling and downstream metabolism.
Voltage-gated proton channels and NADPH oxidase function cooperatively in phagocytes during the respiratory burst, when reactive oxygen species are produced to kill microbial invaders. Agents that activate NADPH oxidase also enhance proton channel gating profoundly, facilitating its roles in charge compensation and pH(i) regulation. The "enhanced gating mode" appears to reflect protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation. Here we examine two candidates for PKC-delta phosphorylation sites in the human voltage-gated proton channel, H(V)1 (Hvcn1), Thr(29) and Ser(97), both in the intracellular N terminus. Channel phosphorylation was reduced in single mutants S97A or T29A, and further in the double mutant T29A/S97A, by an in vitro kinase assay with PKC-delta. Enhanced gating was evaluated by expressing wild-type (WT) or mutant H(V)1 channels in LK35.2 cells, a B cell hybridoma. Stimulation by phorbol myristate acetate enhanced WT channel gating, and this effect was reversed by treatment with the PKC inhibitor GF109203X. The single mutant T29A or double mutant T29A/S97A failed to respond to phorbol myristate acetate or GF109203X. In contrast, the S97A mutant responded like cells transfected with WT H(V)1. We conclude that under these conditions, direct phosphorylation of the proton channel molecule at Thr(29) is primarily responsible for the enhancement of proton channel gating. This phosphorylation is crucial to activation of the proton conductance during the respiratory burst in phagocytes.
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