Translocation of Ca2+/phospholipid-dependent protein kinase (PKC) activity from cytosolic to membrane fractions was assessed in washed human platelet suspensions. Phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) induced a rapid loss of PKC activity from the cytosolic compartment in stirred platelets, which was not accompanied by measurable increases in membrane-associated activity, but was paralleled by a decrease in total cellular enzyme activity (cytosol plus membrane). When platelet aggregation was prevented by not stirring, (i) cytosolic activity was decreased by PMA, (ii) significant and maintained (1-15 min with PMA) increases in membrane-bound PKC were detected, and (iii) the decline in total enzyme activity was markedly slower. In stirred platelets, total and specific inhibition of PMA-induced aggregation by a fibrinogen-derived peptide (RGDS, i.e. Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser) promoted maximal increases in membrane-associated PKC in the presence of PMA and completely prevented the loss in cellular activity. Thrombin and collagen both induced a decrease in cytosolic PKC and a loss of total activity, but a significant rise in membrane activity was seen only with collagen; ADP had no detectable effect on enzyme distribution. These results demonstrate an agonist-induced redistribution of PKC and indicate that platelet aggregation may play an important role in the proteolysis, and hence persistence, of membrane-associated PKC. This observation has implications for the potency and duration of PKC-mediated responses induced by agonists and exogenous PKC activators.

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