Activation of blood platelets triggers a series of responses leading to the formation and retraction of blood clots. Among these responses is the establishment of integrin-mediated transmembrane connections between extracellular matrix components and the actin cytoskeleton of the platelet. Here we report that a specific subpopulation of the major platelet integrin, glycoprotein IIb-IIIa (GPIIb-IIIa) (also referred to as alpha IIb beta 3 integrin), becomes incorporated into the detergent-insoluble actin cytoskeleton of platelets during the platelet activation response. The cytoskeletal association of GPIIb-IIIa is independent of platelet aggregation and fibrin sedimentation and is sensitive to cytochalasin D treatment. As determined by Western immunoblot analysis, approximately 22% of the total cellular GPIIb-IIIa becomes associated with the actin cytoskeleton upon thrombin activation in a manner that is independent of the detection of talin, alpha-actinin, or vinculin in the complex. We found that the cytoskeleton-associated GPIIb-IIIa is derived from an intracellular source since it is not available for lactoperoxidase-catalyzed radioiodination before platelet activation. Two intracellular sources of GPIIb-IIIa are present in resting platelets: GPIIb-IIIa associated with the alpha-granule secretory compartment as well as surface-inaccessible domains of the surface-connected canalicular system. Interestingly, alpha-granule secretion, which occurs in thrombin-activated platelets and results in the translocation of intracellular GPIIb-IIIa to the plasma membrane, appears to be required for the cytoskeleton incorporation of GPIIb-IIIa that we observe. Collectively, our data provide evidence that a subpopulation of GPIIb-IIIa derived from an intracellular source is selectively linked to the actin cytoskeleton of platelets upon thrombin activation in the absence of platelet aggregation.

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