The phagocyte NADPH oxidase, belonging to the NADPH oxidase family (Nox), is dedicated to the production of bactericidal reactive oxygen species. The enzyme catalytic center is the cytochrome b558, formed by 2 subunits, Nox2 (gp91-phox) and p22-phox. Cytochrome b558 activation results from a conformational change induced by cytosolic regulatory proteins (p67-phox, p47-phox, p40-phox and Rac). The catalytic subunit is Nox2, while p22-phox is essential for both Nox2 maturation and the membrane anchorage of regulatory proteins. Moreover, it has been shown to be necessary for novel Nox activity. In order to characterize both p22-phox topology and cytochrome b558 conformational change, 6 monoclonal antibodies were produced against purified cytochrome b558. Phage display epitope mapping combined with a truncation analysis of recombinant p22-phox allowed the identification of epitope regions. Some of these antibodies almost completely inhibited in vitro reconstituted NADPH oxidase activity. Data analysis identified antibodies that recognized epitopes involved in either Nox2 maturation or Nox2 activation. Moreover, flow cytometry analysis and confocal microscopy performed on stimulated neutrophils showed that the monoclonal antibody 12E6 bound preferentially active cytochrome b558. These monoclonal antibodies provided novel and unique probes to investigate maturation, activation and activity, not only of Nox2 but also of novel Nox
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