Details of the pathophysiologic mechanisms that underlie complex disorders, such as the thrombo-occlusive events associated with myocardial infarction, stroke, and venous thromboembolism, are challenging to address. Recent advances have been made through the application of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify genetic loci associated with plasma levels of procoagulant proteins and risk of thrombotic disease. GWAS have consistently identified the gene encoding syntaxin-binding protein 5 (STXBP5) in this context. STXBP5 is expressed in both endothelium and platelets, and SNPs within the STXBP5 locus have been associated with plasma levels of vWF and increased venous thrombosis risk. In this issue of the JCI, two complementary reports from the laboratories of Charles Lowenstein and Sidney Whiteheart describe studies that highlight the complexity of the function of STXBP5 in control of storage granule development and exocytosis in platelets and endothelium. Together, these studies demonstrate that STXBP5 differentially regulates exocytosis in these two cell types. While STXBP5 facilitates granule release from platelets, it inhibits secretion from the Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs) of endothelial cells.


David Lillicrap


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