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J Biol Chem. 2003 Feb 14;278(7):4892-8. Epub 2002 Dec 10.

Red cell ICAM-4 is a novel ligand for platelet-activated alpha IIbbeta 3 integrin.

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INSERM U76, Institut National de la Transfusion Sanguine, 6 rue Alexandre Cabanel, 75015 Paris, France.


ICAM-4 (LW blood group glycoprotein) is an erythroid-specific membrane component that belongs to the family of intercellular adhesion molecules and interacts in vitro with different members of the integrin family, suggesting a potential role in adhesion or cell interaction events, including hemostasis and thrombosis. To evaluate the capacity of ICAM-4 to interact with platelets, we have immobilized red blood cells (RBCs), platelets, and ICAM-Fc fusion proteins to a plastic surface and analyzed their interaction in cell adhesion assays with RBCs and platelets from normal individuals and patients, as well as with cell transfectants expressing the alpha(IIb)beta(3) integrin. The platelet fibrinogen receptor alpha(IIb)beta(3) (platelet GPIIb-IIIa) in a high affinity state following GRGDSP peptide activation was identified for the first time as the receptor for RBC ICAM-4. The specificity of the interaction was demonstrated by showing that: (i) activated platelets adhered less efficiently to immobilized ICAM-4-negative than to ICAM-4-positive RBCs, (ii) monoclonal antibodies specific for the beta(3)-chain alone and for a complex-specific epitope of the alpha(IIb)beta(3) integrin, and specific for ICAM-4 to a lesser extent, inhibited platelet adhesion, whereas monoclonal antibodies to GPIb, CD36, and CD47 did not, (iii) activated platelets from two unrelated type-I glanzmann's thrombasthenia patients did not bind to coated ICAM-4. Further support to RBC-platelet interaction was provided by showing that dithiothreitol-activated alpha(IIb)beta(3)-Chinese hamster ovary transfectants strongly adhere to coated ICAM-4-Fc protein but not to ICAM-1-Fc and was inhibitable by specific antibodies. Deletion of individual Ig domains of ICAM-4 and inhibition by synthetic peptides showed that the alpha(IIb)beta(3) integrin binding site encompassed the first and second Ig domains and that the G65-V74 sequence of domain D1 might play a role in this interaction. Although normal RBCs are considered passively entrapped in fibrin polymers during thrombus, these studies identify ICAM-4 as the first RBC protein ligand of platelets that may have relevant physiological significance.

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