Neutrophil priming: the cellular signals that say 'amber' but not 'green'

Immunol Today. 1995 Jun;16(6):264-8. doi: 10.1016/0167-5699(95)80178-2.


One of the most intriguing gaps in our understanding of how neutrophils work concerns the mechanism by which the oxidase response in these cells is 'primed'. In the primed state, there is no increase in oxidase activity, yet subsequent stimulation provokes a response that is larger than in nonprimed, activated cells. Thus, neutrophils exist in one of three states: quiescent, primed or active. Individual primed cells may be thought of as being 'ready to go' but awaiting further stimulus before the oxidase response is elicited. The primed neutrophils are thus held at 'amber', awaiting 'green' before activity is triggered. Here, Maurice Hallett and Darren Lloyds suggest a molecular basis for the signals that say 'amber' but not 'green'.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / drug effects
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology
  • Respiratory Burst / drug effects
  • Respiratory Burst / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Calcium