RhoA sustains integrin αIIbβ3 adhesion contacts under high shear

Simone M. Schoenwaelder, Sascha C. Hughan, Karen Boniface, Sujanie Fernando, Melissa Holdsworth, Philip E. Thompson, Hatem H. Salem, Shaun P. Jackson

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The small GTPase RhoA modulates the adhesive nature of many cell types; however, despite high levels of expression in platelets, there is currently limited evidence for an important role for this small GTPase in regulating platelet adhesion processes. In this study, we have examined the role of RhoA in regulating the adhesive function of the major platelet integrin, αIIbβ3. Our studies demonstrate that activation of RhoA occurs as a general feature of platelet activation in response to soluble agonists (thrombin, ADP, U46619, collagen), immobilized matrices (von Willebrand factor (vWf), fibrinogen) and high shear stress. Blocking the ligand binding function of integrin αIIbβ3, by pretreating platelets with c7E3 Fab, demonstrated the existence of integrin αIIbβ3-dependent and -independent mechanisms regulating RhoA activation. Inhibition of RhoA (C3 exoenzyme) or its downstream effector Rho kinase (Y27632) had no effect on integrin αIIbβ3 activation induced by soluble agonists or adhesive substrates, however, both inhibitors reduced shear-dependent platelet adhesion on immobilized vWf and shear-induced platelet aggregation in suspension. Detailed analysis of the sequential adhesive steps required for stable platelet adhesion on a vWf matrix under shear conditions revealed that RhoA did not regulate platelet tethering to vWf or the initial formation of integrin αIIbβ3 adhesion contacts but played a major role in sustaining stable platelet-matrix interactions. These studies define a critical role for RhoA in regulating the stability of integrin αIIbβ3 adhesion contacts under conditions of high shear stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14738-14746
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2002

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