We have previously characterized a monoclonal antibody, S12, that binds only to activated platelets (McEver, R.P., and M.N. Martin, 1984, J. Biol. Chem., 259:9799-9804). It identifies a platelet membrane protein of Mr 140,000, which we have designated as GMP-140. Using immunocytochemical techniques we have now localized this protein in unstimulated and thrombin-stimulated platelets. Polyclonal antibodies to purified GMP-140 were used to enhance the sensitivity of detection. Nonpermeabilized, unstimulated platelets, incubated with anti-GMP-140 antibodies, and then with IgG-gold probes, showed very little label for GMP-140 along their plasma membranes. In contrast, thrombin-stimulated platelets exhibited at least a 50-fold increase in the amount of label along the plasma membrane. On frozen thin sections of unstimulated platelets we observed immunogold label along the alpha-granule membranes. We also employed the more sensitive technique of permeabilizing with saponin unstimulated platelets in suspension, and then incubating the cells with polyclonal anti-GMP-140 antibodies and Fab-peroxidase conjugate. Alpha-granule membranes showed heavy reaction product, but no other intracellular organelles were specifically labeled. These results demonstrate that GMP-140 is an alpha-granule membrane protein that is expressed on the platelet plasma membrane during degranulation.

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