Ca2+ entry through store-operated Ca2+ channels drives the production of the pro-inflammatory molecule leukotriene C4 (LTC4) from mast cells through a pathway involving Ca 2+-dependent protein kinase C, mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK1/2, phospholipase A2, and 5-lipoxygenase. Here we examine whether local Ca2+ influx through store-operated Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels in the plasma membrane stimulates this signaling pathway. Manipulating the amplitude and spatial extent of Ca2+ entry by altering chemical and electrical gradients for Ca2+ influx or changing the Ca2+ buffering of the cytoplasm all impacted on protein kinase C and ERK activation, generation of arachidonic acid and LTC4 secretion, with little change in the bulk cytoplasmic Ca2+ rise. Similar bulk cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentrations were achieved when CRAC channels were activated in 0.25 mM external Ca2+ versus 2 mM Ca2+ and 100 nM La3+, an inhibitor of CRAC channels. However, despite similar bulk cytoplasmic Ca2+, protein kinase C activation and LTC4 secretion were larger in 2 mM Ca2+ and La3+ than in 0.25 mM Ca 2+, consistent with the central involvement of a subplasmalemmal Ca2+ rise. The nonreceptor tyrosine kinase Syk coupled CRAC channel opening to protein kinase C and ERK activation. Recombinant TRPC3 channels also activated protein kinase C, suggesting that subplasmalemmal Ca2+ rather than a microdomain exclusive to CRAC channels is the trigger. Hence a subplasmalemmal Ca2+ increase in mast cells is highly versatile in that it triggers cytoplasmic responses through generation of intracellular messengers as well as long distance changes through increased secretion of paracrine signals.
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