- The NADPH oxidase-producing superoxide is the major mechanism by which phagocytes kill invading pathogens. We previously established a model of cytosolic phospholipase A(2) (cPLA(2))-deficient differentiated PLB-985 cells (PLB-D cells) and demonstrated that cPLA(2)-generated arachidonic acid (AA) is essential for NADPH oxidase activation (Dana, R., Leto, T., Malech, H., and Levy, R. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 441-445). In the present study, we used this model to determine the physiological role of cPLA(2) in the regulation of both the H(+) channel and the Na(+)/H(+) antiporter and to study whether NADPH oxidase activation is regulated by either of these transporters. PLB-D cells and two controls: parent PLB-985 cells and PLB-985 cells transfected with the vector only (PLB cells) were differentiated using 1.25% Me(2)SO or 5 x 10(-8) M 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3). Activation of differentiated PLB cells resulted in a Zn(2+)-sensitive alkalization, indicating H(+) channel activity. In contrast, differentiated PLB-D cells failed to activate the H(+) channel, but the addition of exogenous AA fully restored this activity, indicating the role of cPLA(2) in H(+) channel activation. The presence of the H(+) channel inhibitor Zn(2+) caused significant inhibition of NADPH oxidase activity, suggesting a role of the H(+) channel in regulating oxidase activity. Na(+)/H(+) antiporter activity was stimulated in differentiated PLB-D cells, indicating that cPLA(2) does not participate in the regulation of this antiporter. These results establish an essential and specific physiological requirement of cPLA(2)-generated AA for activation of the H(+) channel and suggest the participation of this channel in the regulation of NADPH oxidase activity.