Research ArticlePhysiology

Mice Lacking the ITIM-Containing Receptor G6b-B Exhibit Macrothrombocytopenia and Aberrant Platelet Function

Science Signaling  30 Oct 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 248, pp. ra78
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002936

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Platelets are highly reactive cell fragments that adhere to exposed extracellular matrix (ECM) and prevent excessive blood loss by forming clots. Paradoxically, megakaryocytes, which produce platelets in the bone marrow, remain relatively refractory to the ECM-rich environment of the bone marrow despite having the same repertoire of receptors as platelets. These include the ITAM (immunoreceptor tyrosine–based activation motif)–containing collagen receptor complex, which consists of glycoprotein VI (GPVI) and the Fc receptor γ-chain, and the ITIM (immunoreceptor tyrosine–based inhibition motif)–containing receptor G6b-B. We showed that mice lacking G6b-B exhibited macrothrombocytopenia (reduced platelet numbers and the presence of enlarged platelets) and a susceptibility to bleeding as a result of aberrant platelet production and function. Platelet numbers were markedly reduced in G6b-B–deficient mice compared to those in wild-type mice because of increased platelet turnover. Furthermore, megakaryocytes in G6b-B–deficient mice showed enhanced metalloproteinase production, which led to increased shedding of cell-surface receptors, including GPVI and GPIbα. In addition, G6b-B–deficient megakaryocytes exhibited reduced integrin-mediated functions and defective formation of proplatelets, the long filamentous projections from which platelets bud off. Together, these findings establish G6b-B as a major inhibitory receptor regulating megakaryocyte activation, function, and platelet production.

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