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Blood. 2018 Nov 1;132(18):1951-1962. doi: 10.1182/blood-2018-03-838714. Epub 2018 Aug 21.

Functional redundancy between RAP1 isoforms in murine platelet production and function.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
McAllister Heart Institute and.
Department of Pharmacology and Lineberger Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.
Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom.
Laboratory of Vascular Translational Science, Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, U1148 INSERM, Paris, France; and.
Department of Cell Biology and Physiology and.
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.


RAP GTPases, important regulators of cellular adhesion, are abundant signaling molecules in the platelet/megakaryocytic lineage. However, mice lacking the predominant isoform, RAP1B, display a partial platelet integrin activation defect and have a normal platelet count, suggesting the existence of a RAP1-independent pathway to integrin activation in platelets and a negligible role for RAP GTPases in megakaryocyte biology. To determine the importance of individual RAP isoforms on platelet production and on platelet activation at sites of mechanical injury or vascular leakage, we generated mice with megakaryocyte-specific deletion (mKO) of Rap1a and/or Rap1b Interestingly, Rap1a/b-mKO mice displayed a marked macrothrombocytopenia due to impaired proplatelet formation by megakaryocytes. In platelets, RAP isoforms had redundant and isoform-specific functions. Deletion of RAP1B, but not RAP1A, significantly reduced α-granule secretion and activation of the cytoskeleton regulator RAC1. Both isoforms significantly contributed to thromboxane A2 generation and the inside-out activation of platelet integrins. Combined deficiency of RAP1A and RAP1B markedly impaired platelet aggregation, spreading, and clot retraction. Consistently, thrombus formation in physiological flow conditions was abolished in Rap1a/b-mKO, but not Rap1a-mKO or Rap1b-mKO, platelets. Rap1a/b-mKO mice were strongly protected from experimental thrombosis and exhibited a severe defect in hemostasis after mechanical injury. Surprisingly, Rap1a/b-mKO platelets were indistinguishable from controls in their ability to prevent blood-lymphatic mixing during development and hemorrhage at sites of inflammation. In summary, our studies demonstrate an essential role for RAP1 signaling in platelet integrin activation and a critical role in platelet production. Although important for hemostatic/thrombotic plug formation, platelet RAP1 signaling is dispensable for vascular integrity during development and inflammation.

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