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J Biol Chem. 1989 Nov 15;264(32):19228-35.

Regulatory control of complement on blood platelets. Modulation of platelet procoagulant responses by a membrane inhibitor of the C5b-9 complex.

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Cardiovascular Biology Research Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City 73104.


Antibody against a membrane inhibitor of the C5b-9 complex has been used to investigate regulatory control of the terminal complement proteins on blood platelets. Monospecific rabbit antibody (alpha-P18) was raised against the purified 18-kDa erythrocyte membrane inhibitor of C5b-9 (Sugita, Y., Nakano, Y., and Tomita, M. (1988) J. Biochem. (Tokyo) 104, 633-637). In addition to its interaction with erythrocytes, this antibody (and its Fab) bound specifically to platelet membranes. In immunoblots of cell membrane proteins prepared under non-reducing conditions, alpha-P18 bound specifically to an 18-kDa erythrocyte membrane protein and to a 37-kDa platelet membrane protein. Absorption of this antibody by platelet membranes competed its binding to the purified 18-kDa erythrocyte protein, suggesting that epitopes expressed by the erythrocyte 18-kDa C5b-9 inhibitor are common to the platelet. When bound to the platelet surface, the Fab of alpha-P18 increased C9 activation by membrane C5b-8, monitored by exposure of a complex-dependent C9 neo-epitope. Although alpha-P18 caused little increase in the cytolysis of platelets treated with C5b-9 (total release of lactate dehydrogenase less than 5%), it markedly increased the cell stimulatory responses induced by these complement proteins, including, secretion from platelet alpha- and dense granules, conformational activation of cell surface GP IIb-IIIa, release of membrane microparticles from the platelet surface, and exposure of new membrane binding sites for components of the prothrombinase enzyme complex. Prior incubation of C5b67 platelets with 100 micrograms/ml alpha-P18 (Fab) lowered by approximately 10-fold the half-maximal concentration of C8 required to elicit each of these responses (in the presence of excess C9). Incubation with alpha-P18 (Fab) alone did not activate platelets, nor did incubation with this antibody potentiate the stimulatory responses of platelets exposed to other agonists. These data indicate that a membrane inhibitor of the C5b-9 complex normally serves to attenuate the procoagulant responses of blood platelets exposed to activated complement proteins, and suggest the mechanism by which a deletion or inactivation of this cell surface component would increase the risk of vascular thrombosis.

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