On platelets the membrane glycoprotein IIb/IIIa complex (GPIIb/IIIa) functions in adhesive interactions with fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor, and fibronectin. However, the function of GPIIb/IIIa-like proteins on endothelial cells, as well as the ligand(s) the complex binds, is unknown. Using a highly specific polyclonal antibody we have explored the function of GPIIb/IIIa-like proteins on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVE). Analysis by immunoblotting shows that this antiserum recognizes the endothelial GPIIIa-like protein of the complex. The IgG fraction of the polyclonal antiserum and its Fab' fragments detach confluent and subconfluent HUVE from extracellular substrata. The effect of the anti-GPIIb/IIIa IgG is not toxic as the detached cells maintain their viability after trypsinization and replating. Anti-GPIIb/IIIa IgG does not inhibit HUVE binding to extracellular matrix or purified fibronectin in an attachment assay despite the presence of intact GPIIb/IIIa on HUVE detached from substrate by various methods. Apparently, the GPIIb/IIIa-like protein on HUVE is important in normal HUVE adhesion to the extracellular matrix, but it is not required in the initial attachment of HUVE to extracellular matrix.

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