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J Biol Chem. 1988 Dec 5;263(34):18205-12.

Complement proteins C5b-9 cause release of membrane vesicles from the platelet surface that are enriched in the membrane receptor for coagulation factor Va and express prothrombinase activity.

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


We have investigated the composition and function of membrane microparticles released from platelets exposed to the C5b-9 proteins of the complement system. Gel-filtered human platelets were incubated with sub-lytic amounts of the purified C5b-9 proteins and the distribution of surface antigens was analyzed using monoclonal antibodies and flow cytometry. C5b-9 assembly caused secretory fusion of the alpha-granule membrane with the plasma membrane and the release of membrane vesicles (approximately 0.1-micron diameter) that contained the plasma membrane glycoproteins (GP) GP Ib and GP IIb-IIIa as well as the alpha-granule membrane protein GMP-140. These microparticles were highly enriched in the C9 neoantigen of the C5b-9 complex. The apparent surface density of C5b-9 on the microparticles was approximately 10(3)-fold higher than on the platelet itself, suggesting that the vesicles were selectively shed from the plasma membrane at the site of C5b-9 insertion. C5b-9 induced the expression of an activation-dependent epitope (recognized by monoclonal antibody, PAC1) in GP IIb-IIIa on the platelet surface but not in GP IIb-IIIa on the microparticles. The surface of the microparticles was also highly enriched in alpha-granule-derived coagulation factor V (or Va), accounting for nearly half of all the membrane-bound factor V detected. The number of potential membrane binding sites for factor Va was probed by adding saturating concentrations of factor Va light chain. Under these conditions, the density of factor Va binding sites on the microparticle surface exceeded that on the C5b-9-treated platelet by three to four orders of magnitude. Moreover, the microparticles provided most of the membrane surface for conversion of prothrombin to thrombin by VaXa. These studies demonstrate that the microparticles shed by C5b-9-treated platelets (and not the platelets themselves) provide the principal binding sites for coagulation factor Va and the principal catalytic surface for the prothrombinase complex. Platelet-derived microparticles formed during complement activation in vivo could provide a membrane surface that facilitates the assembly and dissemination of procoagulant enzyme complexes.

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