The low affinity receptor for immunoglobulin G, FcγRIIA, is expressed in human platelets, mediates heparin-associated thrombocytopenia, and participates in platelet activation induced by von Willebrand factor. Activation of FcγRIIA occurs upon clustering of the receptor induced by immunocomplexes, and consists in the phosphorylation of two tyrosine residues within the ITAM, typically promoted by an associated Src kinase. The phosphorylated receptor acts as a docking site for SH2 domain-containing signaling proteins, including the tyrosine kinase Syk. This event initiates an intracellular tyrosine kinase-based signaling cascade that eventually leads to phosphorylation and activation of phospholipase C (PLC) γ2, and elicits cellular responses. To date, very little is known on the possible involvement of FcγRIIA in platelet activation induced by soluble agonists. We have found that stimulation of platelets with agonists acting on G-protein-coupled receptors resulted in Src-kinase-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of FcγRIIA. Treatment of platelets with the blocking monoclonal antibody IV.3 against FcγRIIA, but not with control IgG, inhibited platelet aggregation induced by TRAP1, TRAP4, the thromboxane A2 analogue U46619, and low concentrations of thrombin. By contrast, platelet aggregation induced by high doses of thrombin was unaffected by blockade of FcγRIIA. We also found that the anti-FcγRIIA monoclonal antibody IV.3 inhibited pleckstrin phosphorylation and calcium mobilization induced by low, but not high, concentrations of thrombin. Thrombin- and U46619-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of Syk and PLCγ2, which represent substrates typically involved in FcγRIIA-mediated signaling, was clearly reduced by incubation with anti-FcγRIIA antibody IV.3. Morever, we were able to demonstrated that platelet stimulation by thrombin induced the association of FcγRIIA with Syk. Signaling through immunoreceptor typically takes places in characteristic membrane microdomains called lipid rafts. Upon stimulation with thrombin, FcγRIIA relocated in lipid rafts, and thrombin-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of FcγRIIA occurred within these membrane domains. Controlled disruption of lipid rafts by depleting membrane cholesterol prevented tyrosine phosphorylation of FcγRIIA, and impaired platelet aggregation induced by U46619 or by low, but not high, concentrations of thrombin. These results indicate that FcγRIIA can be activated in human platelets downstream G-protein-coupled receptors, and initiates a tyrosine kinase-based signaling pathway that significantly contributes to platelet activation and aggregation in response to weak stimulation.

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