The complement receptor Ig (CRIg) is selectively expressed by macrophages. This receptor not only promotes the rapid phagocytosis of bacteria by macrophages but also has anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive functions. Previous findings have suggested that protein kinase C (PKC) may be involved in the regulation of CRIg expression in human macrophages. We have now examined the role of PKCα in CRIg expression in human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM). Macrophages nucleofected with plasmid containing short hairpin RNA against PKCα showed markedly reduced expression of PKCα, but normal PKCz expression, by Western blotting analysis, and vice versa. PKCα-deficient MDM showed increased expression of CRIg mRNA and protein (both the long and short form), an increase in phagocytosis of complement-opsonized Candida albicans, and decreased production of TNF-α and IL-6. TNF-α caused a marked decrease in CRIg expression, and addition of anti-TNF mAb to the TNFα- producing MDMs increased CRIg expression. PKCα-deficient macrophages also showed significantly less bacterial LPSinduced downregulation of CRIg. In contrast, cells deficient in PKCα showed decreased expression of CR type 3 (CR3) and decreased production of TNF-α and IL-6 in response to LPS. MDM developed under conditions that increased expression of CRIg over CR3 showed significantly reduced production of TNF-α in response to opsonized C. albicans. The findings indicate that PKCα promotes the downregulation of CRIg and upregulation of CR3 expression and TNF-α and IL-6 production, a mechanism that may promote inflammation.