A pH-stabilizing role of voltage-gated proton channels in IgE-mediated activation of human basophils

Boris Musset, Deri Morgan, Vladimir V. Cherny, Donald W. MacGlashan, Larry L. Thomas, Eduardo Ríos, Thomas E. DeCoursey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Eosinophils and other phagocytes use NADPH oxidase to kill bacteria. Proton channels in human eosinophils and neutrophils are thought to sustain NADPH oxidase activity, and their opening is greatly enhanced by a variety of NADPH oxidase activators, including phorbol myristate acetate (PMA). In nonphagocytic cells that lack NADPH oxidase, no clear effect of PMA on proton channels has been reported. The basophil is a granulocyte that is developmentally closely related to the eosinophil but nevertheless does not express NADPH oxidase. Thus, one might expect that stimulating basophils with PMA would not affect proton currents. However, stimulation of human basophils in perforated-patch configuration with PMA, N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine, or anti-IgE greatly enhanced proton currents, the latter suggesting involvement of proton channels during activation of basophils by allergens through their highly expressed IgE receptor (FcεRI). The anti-IgE-stimulated response occurred in a fraction of cells that varied among donors and was less profound than that to PMA. PKC inhibition reversed the activation of proton channels, and the proton channel response to anti-IgE or PMA persisted in Ca2+-free solutions. Zn2+ at concentrations that inhibit proton current inhibited histamine release elicited by PMA or anti-IgE. Studied with confocal microscopy by using SNARF-AM and the shifted excitation and emission ratioing of fluorescence approach, anti-IgE produced acidification that was exacerbated in the presence of 100 μM Zn2+. Evidently, proton channels are active in basophils during IgE-mediated responses and prevent excessive acidification, which may account for their role in histamine release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11020-11025
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 5 2008


  • Allergy
  • Asthma
  • HNVCN1
  • Histamine
  • Patch-clamp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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