We previously demonstrated that when platelets are in motion and in proximity to endothelial cells, they become unresponsive to agonists (Marcus, A.J., L.B. Safier, K.A. Hajjar, H.L. Ullman, N. Islam, M.J. Broekman, and A.M. Eiroa. 1991. J. Clin. Invest. 88:1690-1696). This inhibition is due to an ecto-ADPase on the surface of endothelial cells which metabolizes ADP released from activated platelets, resulting in blockade of the aggregation response. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) ADPase was biochemically classified as an E-type ATP-diphosphohydrolase. The endothelial ecto-ADPase is herein identified as CD39, a molecule originally characterized as a lymphoid surface antigen. All HUVEC ecto-ADPase activity was immunoprecipitated by monoclonal antibodies to CD39. Surface localization of HUVEC CD39 was established by confocal microscopy and flow cytometric analyses. Transfection of COS cells with human CD39 resulted in both ecto-ADPase activity as well as surface expression of CD39. PCR analyses of cDNA obtained from HUVEC mRNA and recombinant human CD39 revealed products of the same size, and of identical sequence. Northern blot analyses demonstrated that HUVEC express the same sized transcripts for CD39 as MP-1 cells (from which CD39 was originally cloned). We established the role of CD39 as a prime endothelial thromboregulator by demonstrating that CD39-transfected COS cells acquired the ability to inhibit ADP-induced aggregation in platelet-rich plasma. The identification of HUVEC ADPase/CD39 as a constitutively expressed potent inhibitor of platelet reactivity offers new prospects for antithrombotic therapeusis.
A J Marcus, M J Broekman, J H Drosopoulos, N Islam, T N Alyonycheva, L B Safier, K A Hajjar, D N Posnett, M A Schoenborn, K A Schooley, R B Gayle, C R Maliszewski