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J Thromb Haemost. 2007 Jul;5(7):1345-52.

Platelet integrin alpha(IIb)beta(3): activation mechanisms.

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Department of Molecular Cardiology, Joseph J. Jacobs Center for Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA.


Integrin alpha(IIb)beta(3) plays a critical role in platelet aggregation, a central response in hemostasis and thrombosis. This function of alpha(IIb)beta(3) depends upon a transition from a resting to an activated state such that it acquires the capacity to bind soluble ligands. Diverse platelet agonists alter the cytoplasmic domain of alpha(IIb)beta(3) and initiate a conformational change that traverses the transmembrane region and ultimately triggers rearrangements in the extracellular domain to permit ligand binding. The membrane-proximal regions of alpha(IIb) and beta(3) cytoplasmic tails, together with the transmembrane segments of the subunits, contact each other to form a complex which restrains the integrin in the resting state. It is unclasping of this complex that induces integrin activation. This clasping/unclasping process is influenced by multiple cytoplasmic tail binding partners. Among them, talin appears to be a critical trigger of alpha(IIb)beta(3) activation, but other binding partners, which function as activators or suppressors, are likely to act as co-regulators of integrin activation.

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