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Blood. 2005 Oct 1;106(7):2356-62. Epub 2005 Jun 14.

The TUBB1 Q43P functional polymorphism reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in men by modulating platelet function and structure.

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  • 1Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology, Department of Pathology, Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Unit, University of Leuven, Belgium.


The discoid form of platelets is maintained by a marginal band of tightly coiled microtubules. beta1-tubulin is the major isoform within platelet and megakaryocyte microtubules. In 24.2% of 33 unrelated inherited macrothrombocytopenia patients and in 10.6% of 272 subjects of a healthy population a P for Q substitution in beta1-tubulin was found in the highly conserved residue 43. Heterozygous carriers of the Q43P variant showed a reduced platelet protein beta1-tubulin expression. Transfection of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Q43P beta1-tubulin in megakaryocytic MEG01 cells resulted in a disturbed tubulin organization. Electron microscopy revealed enlarged spherocytic platelets with a disturbed marginal band and organelle-free zones. In addition, platelets with the Q43P beta1-tubulin variant had reduced adenosine triphosphate (ATP) secretion, thrombin receptor activating peptide (TRAP)-induced aggregation and collagen adhesion. The prevalence of the Q43P beta1-tubulin variant was also 2 times higher (odds ratio, [OR] = 2.1;95% confidence interval [CI], 1.22-3.59) among control subjects than among patients with cardiovascular disease (10.4% versus 5.2%, P < .001). By analyzing this protective factor in men and women separately, this association was only found in men. This study thus presents the functional consequences of the platelet Q43P beta1-tubulin substitution that is frequent in the healthy population and may protect men against arterial thrombosis.

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