To gain insight into region of the platelet GPIIb-IIIa complex involved in receptor biogenesis and function, we examined the biochemical properties of a defective GPIIb-IIIa complex from patient suffering from type II Glanzmann thrombasthenia. Flow cytometric as well as immunoblot analysis of patient platelets showed significantly reduced levels of GPIIb and GPIIIa compared with a normal control. Patient platelets, however, retained the ability to retract a fibrin clot. Sequence analysis of PCR-amplified platelet GPIIb mRNA revealed an Arg327-->His amino acid substitution between the second and third calcium-binding domains of the GPIIb heavy chain, a residue that is highly conserved among integrin alpha-subunits. The recombinant His327 form of GPIIb was found to be fully capable of associating with GPIIIa, therefore the role of the calcium-binding domains in intersubunit association was further examined by constructing amino-terminal segments of GPIIb that ended before the first, second, and third calcium-binding domains. All three fragments were found to associate with GPIIIa, demonstrating that the calcium-binding domains of GPIIb are not necessary for initial complex formation. Regions amino-terminal to the calcium-binding domains of GPIIb may play a heretofore unappreciated role in integrin subunit association.
D A Wilcox, C M Paddock, S Lyman, J C Gill, P J Newman