Triton X-100-insoluble residues, or skeletons, of plasma membrane-rich vesicles obtained from unstimulated human platelets were isolated by high speed centrifugation. About 10-15% of the total surface iodinatable glycoproteins IIb and III (GPIIb and GPIII, respectively) co-isolated with the insoluble fraction. After sonication and centrifugation the solubilized material was further purified by affinity chromatography on Lens culinaris lectin-Sepharose. SDS PAGE analysis of this material revealed the presence of at least three major proteins, which were shown to be GPIIb, GPIII, and membrane actin, as judged by their electrophoretic properties and on the basis of immunological criteria. Antibodies directed against platelet surface glycoproteins and antibodies directed against rabbit actin were able to immunoprecipitate all three proteins, which indicates that they were noncovalently associated with one another. Gel filtration of the Lens lectin-purified Triton-insoluble complex on Ultrogel AcA 22 showed that greater than 85% of the total surface GPIIb and III was associated with an actin-rich peak that eluted in the void volume. In contrast, the form of GPIIb-III present in the Triton-soluble membrane fraction behaved as monomeric species when chromatographed under identical conditions. Finally, the GPIIb-III membrane actin complex bound with high efficiency to rabbit f-actin in vitro in a Ca++-independent manner, whereas the monomeric forms found in the Triton-soluble fraction did not bind to actin. These results indicate that two forms of GPIIb and III exist: one that binds directly to endogenous membrane actin and one that does not.

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