Rats of the Wistar Furth (WF) strain have hereditary macrothrombocytopenia with decreased platelet alpha-granule proteins. The autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance of the large mean platelet volume (MPV) phenotype and platelet alpha-granule protein deficiencies suggest that a component common to both formation of platelet alpha-granules and subdivision of megakaryocyte cytoplasm into platelets is quantitatively or qualitatively abnormal in WF megakaryocytes and platelets. We examined WF platelets for such an abnormality using electrophoretic and immunologic analyses. Rabbit antiserum prepared against WF rat platelets and absorbed with Wistar rat platelets recognized a major 235-Kd band, and minor bands of WF rat platelets ranging from 200 to 130 Kd, not present in immunoblots of Wistar, Sprague-Dawley, or Long-Evans rat platelets. The minor bands were labeled with affinity-isolated antibody to the 235-Kd band, indicating that all bands contained the same unique antigenic site. The 235-Kd antigen had the same mobility as rat platelet talin identified with a platelet antitalin antibody. Activation of calcium-dependent proteases during Triton X-100 extraction caused conversion of the 235- Kd antigen into a major fragment of 200 Kd and minor fragments ranging to 115 Kd, identical in mobility to fragments of rat platelet talin produced in the same samples. The absorbed anti-WF platelet antiserum also detected a 235-Kd antigen in WF lung, kidney, and small intestine by immunoblotting. Finally, the 235-Kd antigen unique to WF rats was immunoprecipitated from Triton X-100 supernatants of WF platelets with an antitalin monoclonal antibody (MoAb). These data indicate that the unique antigenic site is on WF talin. Examination of talin distribution in Wistar megakaryocytes showed localization beneath the plasma membrane, on the cytosolic face of demarcation membranes, associated with alpha-granule membranes, and diffusely throughout the cytoplasm. Although WF megakaryocytes showed the same general distribution pattern, some differences were apparent. In contrast to membrane systems of the Wistar rat, the large membrane complexes in WF megakaryocytes contained little or no talin. In addition, approximately half of WF megakaryocytes showed an increased peripheral localization of talin, often associated with membrane blebs, with decreased talin in the cytoplasmic interior. The association of the unique talin antigenic determinant and anomalous megakaryocyte talin distribution with abnormal platelet formation in WF rats suggests that talin is abnormal in this rat strain and that talin plays an important role in subdivision of megakaryocyte cytoplasm into platelets.

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