In resting platelets, adhesive membrane glycoproteins are attached to the cytoskeleton. On strong activation, phosphatidylserine(PS)-positive and -negative platelet subpopulations are formed. Platelet activation is accompanied by cytoskeletal rearrangement, although the glycoprotein attachment status in these two subpopulations is not clear. We developed a new, flow cytometry-based, single-cell approach to investigate attachment of membrane glycoproteins to the cytoskeleton in cell subpopulations. In PS-negative platelets, adhesive glycoproteins integrin αIIbβ3, glycoprotein Ib and, as shown for the first time, P-selectin were associated with the cytoskeleton. In contrast, this attachment was disrupted in PS-positive platelets; it was retained to some extent only in the small convex regions or ‘caps’. It correlated with the degradation of talin and filamin observed only in PS-positive platelets. Calpain inhibitors essentially prevented the disruption of membrane glycoprotein attachment in PS-positive platelets, as well as talin and filamin degradation. With the suggestion that detachment of glycoproteins from the cytoskeleton may affect platelet adhesive properties, we investigated the ability of PS-positive platelets to resist shear-induced breakaway from the immobilized fibrinogen. Shear rates of 500/s caused PS-positive platelet breakaway, but their adhesion stability increased more than 10-fold after pretreatment of the platelets with calpain inhibitor. In contrast, the ability of PS-positive platelets to adhere to immobilized von Willebrand's factor at 100/s was low, but this was not affected by the preincubation of platelets with a calpain inhibitor. Our data suggest that calpain-controlled detachment of membrane glycoproteins is a new mechanism that is responsible for the loss of ability of the procoagulant platelets to resist detachment from thrombi by high shear stress.

You do not currently have access to this content.