Vasodilator-Stimulated Phosphoprotein (VASP)-dependent and -independent pathways regulate thrombin-induced activation of Rap1b in platelets

Peter Benz, Hebatullah Laban, Joana Zink, Lea Günther, Ulrich Walter, Stepan Gambaryan, Karim Dib

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14 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Vasodilator-Stimulated Phosphoprotein (VASP) is involved in the inhibition of agonist-induced platelet aggregation by cyclic nucleotides and the adhesion of platelets to the vascular wall. αIIbβ3 is the main integrin responsible for platelet activation and Rap1b plays a key role in integrin signalling. We investigated whether VASP is involved in the regulation of Rap1b in platelets since VASP-null platelets exhibit augmented adhesion to endothelial cells in vivo.

Methods: Washed platelets from wild type and VASP-deficient mice were stimulated with thrombin, the purinergic receptors agonist ADP, or the thromboxane A2 receptor agonist U46619 and Rap1b activation was measured using the GST-RalGDS-RBD binding assay. Interaction of VASP and Crkl was investigated by co-immunoprecipitation, confocal microscopy, and pull-down assays using Crkl domains expressed as GST-fusion proteins.

Results: Surprisingly, we found that activation of Rap1b in response to thrombin, ADP, or U46619 was significantly reduced in platelets from VASP-null mice compared to platelets from wild type mice. However, inhibition of thrombin-induced activation of Rap1b by nitric oxide was similar in platelets from wild type and VASP-null mice indicating that the NO/cGMP/PKG pathway controls inhibition of Rap1b independently from VASP. To understand how VASP regulated Rap1b, we investigated association between VASP and the Crk-like protein (Crkl), an adapter protein which activates the Rap1b guanine nucleotide exchange factor C3G. We demonstrated the formation of a Crkl/VASP complex by showing that: 1) Crkl co-immunoprecipitated VASP from platelet lysates; 2) Crkl and VASP dynamically co-localized at actin-rich protrusions reminiscent of focal adhesions, filopodia, and lamellipodia upon platelet spreading on fibronectin; 3) recombinant VASP bound directly to the N-terminal SH3 domain of Crkl; 4) PKA-mediated VASP phosphorylation on Ser157 abrogated the binding of Crkl.

Conclusions: We identified Crkl as a novel protein interacting with VASP in platelets. We propose that the C3G/Crkl/VASP complex plays a role in the regulation of Rap1b and this explains, at least in part, the reduced agonist-induced activation of Rap1b in VASP-null platelets. In addition, the fact that PKA-dependent VASP phosphorylation abrogated its interaction with Crkl may provide, at least in part, a rationale for the PKA-dependent inhibition of Rap1b and platelet aggregation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalCell communication and signaling : CCS
Issue number21
Early online date13 Sep 2016
Publication statusEarly online date - 13 Sep 2016


  • VASP, platelets, Rap1b, CrKL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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