Background: PKCδ expressed in neutrophils is implicated in promoting reperfusion injury after ischemic stroke. To understand the molecular and cellular actions of PKCδ, we employed a chemical-genetics approach to identify PKCδ substrates in neutrophils.
Results: We recently generated knock-in mice endogenously expressing analog-specific PKCδ (AS-PKCδ) that can utilize ATP analogs as phosphate donors. Using neutrophils isolated from the knock-in mice, we identified several PKCδ substrates, one of which was lipocalin-2 (LCN2), which is an iron-binding protein that can trigger apoptosis by reducing intracellular iron concentrations. We found that PKCδ phosphorylated LCN2 at T115 and this phosphorylation was reduced in Prkcd (-/-) mice. PKCδ colocalized with LCN2 in resting and stimulated neutrophils. LCN2 release from neutrophils after cerebral ischemia was reduced in PKCδ null mice.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that PKCδ phosphorylates LCN2 and mediates its release from neutrophils during ischemia-reperfusion injury.