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J Biol Chem. 2001 Apr 20;276(16):12999-3006. Epub 2001 Jan 10.

Expression of the platelet receptor GPVI confers signaling via the Fc receptor gamma -chain in response to the snake venom convulxin but not to collagen.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


The mechanism of signal transduction underlying the activation of platelets by collagen has been actively investigated for over 30 years, but the receptors involved remain incompletely understood. Studies of human platelets, which are unresponsive to collagen, mouse knockout models, and platelet biochemical studies support the hypothesis that the recently cloned platelet surface protein GPVI functions as a signaling receptor for collagen. To directly test this hypothesis, we have expressed wild-type and mutant forms of GPVI in RBL-2H3 cells, which express the Fcepsilon receptor gamma-chain (Fc Rgamma), the putative signaling co-receptor for GPVI in platelets, but lack GPVI itself. Expression of GPVI in RBL-2H3 cells confers strong adhesive and signaling responses to convulxin (a snake venom protein that directly binds GPVI) and weak responsiveness to collagen-related peptide but no responsiveness to collagen. To elucidate the mechanism of GPVI intracellular signaling, mutations were introduced in the receptor's transmembrane domain and C-terminal tail. Unlike reported studies of other Fc Rgamma partners, these studies reveal that both the GPVI transmembrane arginine and intracellular C-tail are necessary for coupling to Fc Rgamma and for signal transduction. To our knowledge, these studies are the first to demonstrate a direct signaling role for GPVI and the first to directly test the role of GPVI as a collagen receptor. Our results suggest that GPVI may be necessary but not sufficient for collagen signaling and that a distinct ligand-binding collagen receptor such as the alpha(2)beta(1) integrin is likely to play a necessary role for collagen signaling as well as adhesion in platelets.

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