Blood platelets have a receptor for macromolecular adhesive glycoproteins, located on a heteroduplex membrane glycoprotein complex (GPIIb/IIIa) that only becomes "exposed" when platelets are activated. Binding of the adhesive glycoproteins, in particular fibrinogen, to the receptor is required for platelet aggregation, which in turn is required to arrest bleeding. A murine monoclonal antibody whose rate of binding to the receptor is affected by platelet activation was both cross-linked and fragmented to assess the effects of changes in molecular size on its rate of binding to unactivated and activated platelets. The results indicate that small molecules can bind more rapidly to the receptors on unactivated platelets than can large molecules and that activation involves a conformational and/or microenvironmental change that permits the large molecules to bind more rapidly.

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