New concepts in phospholipase D signaling in inflammation and cancer

ScientificWorldJournal. 2010 Jul 7;10:1356-69. doi: 10.1100/tsw.2010.116.


Phospholipase D (PLD) catalyzes the hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine to generate the lipid second messenger phosphatidic acid (PA) and choline. PLD regulation in cells falls into two major signaling categories. One is via growth factors/mitogens, such as EGF, PDGF, insulin, and serum, and implicates tyrosine kinases; the other is via the small GTPase proteins Arf and Rho. We summarize here our lab's and other groups' contributions to those pathways and introduce several novel concepts. For the mitogen-induced signaling, new data indicate that an increase in cell transformation in PLD2-overexpressing cells is due to an increase of de novo DNA synthesis induced by PLD2, with the specific tyrosine residues involved in those functions being Y179 and Y511. Recent research has also implicated Grb2 in tyrosine phosphorylation of PLD2 that also involves Sos and the ERK pathway. The targets of phosphorylation within the PLD2 molecule that are key to its regulation have recently been precisely mapped. They are Y296, Y415, and Y511 and the responsible kinases are, respectively, EGFR, JAK3, and Src. Y296 is an inhibitory site and its phosphorylation explains the low PLD2 activity that exists in low-invasive MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Advances along the small GTPase front have implicated cell migration, as PLD1 and PLD2 cause an increase in chemotaxis of leukocytes and inflammation. PA is necessary for full chemotaxis. PA enriches the localization of the atypical guanine exchange factor (GEF), DOCK2, at the leading edge of polarized neutrophils. Further, extracellular PA serves as a neutrophil chemoattractant; PA enters the cell and activates the mTOR/S6K pathway (specifically, S6K). A clear connection between PLD with the mTOR/S6K pathway has been established, in that PA binds to mTOR and also binds to S6K independently of mTOR. Lastly, there is evidence in the upstream direction of cell signaling that mTOR and S6K keep PLD2 gene expression function down-regulated in basal conditions. In summary, the involvement of PLD2 in cell signaling continues to expand geometrically. It involves gene transcription, mitogenic and cell migration effects as seen in normal growth, tumor development, and inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemotaxis
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / enzymology*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Phospholipase D / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Tyrosine
  • MTOR protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Phospholipase D