Exposure to low temperature causes platelets to change shape in a manner similar to the shape change that precedes secretagogue-induced serotonin release. Previous studies have shown that two proteins, of approximately 20,000 and approximately 40,000 Mr, become phosphorylated before secretion. We have investigated whether low temperature can induce phosphorylation of these proteins and/or serotonin secretion. The data indicate that low-temperature-induced shape change has no requirement for extracellular calcium, whereas phosphorylation of the two proteins and subsequent serotonin release both have strong calcium requirements. Because cold treatment is thought to influence platelet shape through an effect on microtubules, the events in the shape change-release sequence would seem to be ordered as follows: microtubule disassembly leads to shape change leads to protein phosphorylation leads to secretion.

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