Human platelets containing dense granules labelled with 5-hydroxy[14C]tryptamine ([14C]5-HT) were permeabilized by exposure to streptolysin O (SLO) in the presence of 4 mM [γ-32P]ATP. Addition of either 100 nM phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) or of Ca2+ (pCa 5) at the same time as SLO induced secretion of dense-granule [14C]5-HT and the phosphorylation of pleckstrin by protein kinase C (PKC). Ca2+ also induced phosphorylation of myosin P-light chains. Guanosine 5ʹ-[γ-thio]triphosphate (GTP[S], 100 μM) did not stimulate secretion from SLO-permeabilized platelets in the absence of Ca2+ (pCa > 9), but greatly potentiated secretion in the presence of low PMA (10 nM) or low Ca2+ (pCa 6). However, GTP[S] did stimulate myosin P-light-chain phosphorylation in the absence of Ca2+, an effect that was associated with morphological changes, including granule centralization. Inhibition of PKC and of pleckstrin phosphorylation by Ro 31-8220 blocked secretion induced by PMA or by GTP[S] and PMA in the absence of Ca2+, but did not prevent the GTP[S]-induced phosphorylation of myosin P-light chains or secretion induced by Ca2+ at pCa 5. When the time period between exposure of platelets to SLO and challenge at pCa > 9 with PMA or with GTP[S] and PMA was increased, there were rapid and parallel decreases in the secretion and pleckstrin phosphorylation responses, which were lost after 3-5 min. In contrast, the responsiveness of secretion to Ca2+ (pCa 5) or to GTP[S] and Ca2+ (pCa 6) persisted for at least 10 min after exposure of platelets to SLO, although the ability of pleckstrin to undergo phosphorylation was still lost after 3-5 min. Both PKC and pleckstrin were undetectable within platelets after 5 min exposure to SLO. The results suggest that the loss of responsiveness to PMA or to GTP[S] and PMA is attributable to the leakage of PKC (and possibly pleckstrin) from the platelets, whereas secretion stimulated by Ca2+ or by GTP[S] and Ca2+ utilizes membrane-associated Ca2+- and GTP-binding proteins and occurs independently of PKC activation.

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