We have investigated thrombin-stimulated morphological changes and the activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI 3-K), as manifested by the accumulation of PtdIns(3,4)P2 and PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 (labelled with 32P or myo-[3H]inositol), in CHRF-288 cells, a leukaemic cell line derived from a platelet progenitor cell. We report that these cells, when exposed to thrombin or SFLLRN (the peptide Ser-Phe-Leu-Leu-Arg-Asn, a thrombin-receptor ligand) rapidly change shape, forming membrane ‘blebs’, detectable by differential interference contrast or confocal microscopy, as well as labelled 3-phosphorylated phosphoinositides. The ‘blebs’ are distinguishable from ‘ruffles’ or lamellae, since they do not contain phalloidin-detectable actin. Studies with permeabilized cells indicate that PI 3-K is activated synergistically by thrombin+guanosine 5´-[γ-thio]triphosphate. Two forms of PI 3-K, i.e. PI 3-K(γ) and p85/PI 3-K, regulated by Gβγ subunits of heterotrimeric G-protein and the small G-protein Rho, respectively, are present in these cells, as is true for platelets. Wortmannin, a known potent and specific inhibitor of PI 3-K activities, inhibits thrombin-stimulated accumulation of 3-phosphorylated phosphoinositides in a dose-dependent manner (IC50 ~ 10nM), without affecting phospholipase C activation. Pretreatment of CHRF-288 cells with either wortmannin (100 nM) or an unrelated synthetic PI 3-K inhibitor, LY294002 (50 μM), abolishes thrombin-receptor-stimulated blebbing. These results suggest that thrombin-stimulated accumulation of 3-phosphorylated phosphoinositide(s) is required for the shape-change response in CHRF-288 cells.

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