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Blood. 1999 Dec 15;94(12):4166-76.

Regulation and function of WASp in platelets by the collagen receptor, glycoprotein VI.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Wiskott Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is an X-linked recessive disorder associated with abnormalities in platelets and lymphocytes giving rise to thrombocytopenia and immunodeficiency. WAS is caused by a mutation in the gene encoding the cytoskeletal protein (WASp). Despite its importance, the role of WASp in platelet function is not established. WASp was recently shown to undergo tyrosine phosphorylation in platelets after activation by collagen, suggesting that it may play a selective role in activation by the adhesion molecule. In the present study, we show that WASp is heavily tyrosine phosphorylated by a collagen-related peptide (CRP) that binds to the collagen receptor glycoprotein (GP) VI, but not to the integrin alpha2beta1. Tyrosine phosphorylation of WASp was blocked by Src family kinase inhibitors and reduced by treatment with wortmannin and in patients with X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA), a condition caused by a lack of functional expression of Btk. This indicates that Src kinases, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase), and Btk all contribute to the regulation of tyrosine phosphorylation of WASp. The functional importance of WASp was investigated in 2 WAS brothers who show no detectable expression of WASp. Platelet aggregation and secretion from dense granules induced by CRP and thrombin was slightly enhanced in the WAS platelets relative to controls. Furthermore, there was no apparent difference in morphology in WAS platelets after stimulation by these agonists. These observations suggest that WASp does not play a critical role in intracellular signaling downstream of tyrosine kinase-linked and G protein-coupled receptors in platelets.

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