Background: Platelet glycoprotein (GP) Ib-IX-V supports platelet adhesion on damaged vascular walls by binding to von Willebrand factor (VWF). For several decades it has been recognized that the alpha-subunit of GP (GPIb alpha) also binds thrombin but the physiological relevance, if any, of this interaction was unknown. Previous studies have shown that a sulfated tyrosine 276 (Tyr276) is essential for thrombin binding to GPIb alpha.Objectives: This study investigated the in vivo relevance of GPIb alpha residue Tyr276 in hemostasis and thrombosis.Methods: Transgenic mouse colonies expressing the normal human GPIb alpha subunit or a mutant human GPIb alpha containing a Phe substitution for Tyr276 (hTg(Y276F)) were generated. Both colonies were bred to mice devoid of murine GPIb alpha.Results: Surface-expressed GPIb alpha levels and platelet counts were similar in both colonies. hTg(Y276F) platelets were significantly impaired in binding alpha-thrombin but displayed normal binding to type I fibrillar collagen and human VWF in the presence of ristocetin. In vivo thrombus formation as a result of chemical damage (FeCl3) demonstrated that hTg(Y276F) mice have a delayed time to occlusion followed by unstable blood flow indicative of embolization. In models of laser-induced injury, thrombi developing in hTg(Y276F) animals were also less stable.Conclusions: The results demonstrate that GPIb alpha residue Tyr276 is physiologically important, supporting stable thrombus formation in vivo.
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