Cathepsin G and thrombin: evidence for two different platelet receptors


Neutrophil cathepsin G and thrombin, the only platelet agonists that are proteases, exhibit a mandatory requirement for catalytic activity to induce platelet aggregation and signal transduction. The thrombin receptor is a G-protein-coupled receptor which undergoes proteolysis to generate a tethered ligand that causes self-activation. Since cathepsin G strongly resembles thrombin in its ability to activate platelets, we have attempted to determine whether cathepsin G and thrombin function through the same or different receptors. Evidence that thrombin and cathepsin G act at different receptors was as follows: (a) an antibody directed against the thrombin receptor blocked thrombin-induced but not cathepsin G-induced platelet responses; (b) human fibroblasts responded to thrombin and to a synthetic thrombin receptor peptide (comprising residues 42-55 of the thrombin receptor) by exhibiting an elevation in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration but did not respond to cathepsin G; and (c) platelets pretreated with neutrophil elastase failed to respond to thrombin but responded when rechallenged by cathepsin G. Thrombin and cathepsin G exhibit heterologous desensitization that is potentiated by okadaic acid and is attenuated by staurosporine, indicating that phosphorylation of serine/threonine residues is important for desensitization and that protein kinase C may be involved. Since catalytic activity of cathepsin G is required for platelet stimulation, it is probable that platelet activation by cathepsin G requires receptor proteolysis and that a tethered ligand mechanism is involved, suggesting that platelets may possess a family of protease receptors.

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Biochemical Journal


Portland Press, on behalf of the Biochemical Society

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