P-selectin is a 140 kDa membrane glycoprotein found in secretory granules of platelets and endothelial cells where it is rapidly translocated to the plasma membrane upon cell activation. It then functions as a receptor for various types of leucocytes. Metabolic labelling of resting platelets with 32Pi showed that P-selectin is primarily phosphorylated on serine residues, although some tyrosine phosphorylation was observed as well. However, tyrosine phosphorylation of P-selectin was greatly stimulated by treatment with the permeating phosphatase inhibitor, pervanadate. When P-selectin immunoprecipitates were incubated with [gamma-32P]ATP (in vitro kinase assay), a fraction of P-selectin was phosphorylated on its tyrosine residues by a co-precipitated kinase. P-selectin phosphorylated in vitro co-migrated with 140 kDa surface-labelled 125I-P-selectin during SDS/PAGE under reducing conditions. Under non-reducing conditions, however, phosphorylated P-selectin was disulphide-linked to unknown protein(s) in a 205 kDa complex. In vitro kinase assays of the most abundant platelet tyrosine kinase, pp60c-src, demonstrated the presence of similar 140 and 205 kDa phosphorylated proteins in SDS/PAGE under reducing and non-reducing conditions respectively. Extraction and reprecipitation studies with proteins phosphorylated in vitro indicated that P-selectin and pp60c-src form a 205 kDa 1:1 disulphide-linked complex. In the complex, pp60c-src autophosphorylation is inhibited and P-selectin is phosphorylated on tyrosine residues. As protein disulphides in the cytoplasm of intact cells are extremely rare, our results suggest that P-selectin and pp60c-src, which co-localize in platelet dense granules, may be non-covalently associated and spontaneously form disulphide bridges during lysis. In addition, the observed tyrosine phosphorylation of P-selectin in intact platelets suggests that its function might be regulated by phosphorylation by pp60c-src.

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