Human platelets were tested for the presence of proteins immunologically cross-reactive with red cell spectrin and protein 4.1. As assessed by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy, platelets were specifically reactive with affinity-purified rabbit antisera against red cell spectrin and protein 4.1. The immunoreactive platelet constituents were further analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate- polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, followed by electrophoretic transfer to nitrocellulose paper and immunoperoxidase staining. We found that whole platelets, membranes, and cytoskeletal preparations isolated by Triton X-100 extraction contain small amounts of proteins reacting with anti-spectrin or anti-protein 4.1 antiserum. The immunoreactive spectrin-like platelet protein has an apparent molecular weight of 240,000 and comigrates with the alpha-subunit of red cell spectrin. The major immunoreactive protein 4.1-like constituent has an apparent molecular weight of 78,000, which is slightly less than that of red cell protein 4.1. We conclude that platelets contain a spectrin- like protein which, by analogy with red cell spectrin, may have a role in membrane-cytoskeletal attachment. The properties and function of the platelet protein 4.1-like constituent are not yet known.

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