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Blood. 1998 Sep 15;92(6):2053-63.

A recombinant soluble form of the integrin alpha IIb beta 3 (GPIIb-IIIa) assumes an active, ligand-binding conformation and is recognized by GPIIb-IIIa-specific monoclonal, allo-, auto-, and drug-dependent platelet antibodies.

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The Blood Research Institute of The Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin and Departments of Medicine, Pathology, Cellular Biology, and Pharmacology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.


The IIb-IIIa glycoprotein complex is a favored target for allo-, auto-, and drug-dependent antibodies associated with immune thrombocytopenia. A soluble, recombinant form of the GPIIb-IIIa heterodimer that could be produced in large quantities and maintained in solution without detergent could provide a useful experimental tool for the study of platelet-reactive antibodies, but previous attempts to produce such a construct have yielded only small quantities of the end product. Using a baculovirus expression system and the dual-promoter transfer vector P2Bac, we were able to express soluble GPIIb-IIIa complex (srGPIIb-IIIa) lacking cytoplasmic and transmembrane domains in quantities of about 1,000 microg/L, about 40 times greater than reported previously. The high yield achieved may be related to inclusion of the entire extracellular region of the GPIIb light chain in the construct. srGPIIb-IIIa reacts spontaneously with fibrinogen, and this interaction is totally inhibited by the peptide RGDS. Reactions of 24 GPIIb-IIIa-specific antibodies evaluated (12 monoclonal, 3 allo-specific, 3 auto-specific, and 6 drug-dependent) with srGPIIb-IIIa were indistinguishable from reactions with platelet GPIIb-IIIa. Thus, srGPIIb-IIIa spontaneously assumes an active, ligand-binding conformation and contains epitopes for all monoclonal and human antibodies tested to date. srGPIIb-IIIa can be produced in large quantities, can readily be modified by site-directed mutagenesis, and should facilitate identification of epitopes recognized by GPIIb-IIIa-specific antibodies, study of the mechanism(s) by which certain drugs promote antibody binding to GPIIb-IIIa in drug-induced thrombocytopenia and structure-function relationships of GPIIb-IIIa.

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