Actin is an abundant intracellular protein that is released into the blood during tissue injury and its injection into rats causes microthrombi to form in the vasculature. This report and others have shown that actin filaments are able to aggregate platelets in an adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-dependent manner. The effects on this process of two plasma actin-binding proteins, vitamin D-binding protein (DBP) and gelsolin, were examined separately and together. The addition of DBP, a monomer-binding protein, to actin filaments did not affect their ability to induce platelet aggregation. However, severing of actin filaments with gelsolin resulted in an increased degree of platelet aggregation. Preincubation of F-actin with both gelsolin and DBP resulted in a significant inhibition of aggregation. The effects of DBP and gelsolin on actin-induced aggregation paralleled their effects on exchange of actin-bound adenine nucleotides. DBP inhibited 1, N6- ethenoadenosine 5′ triphosphate (epsilon-ATP) exchange with G-actin but not with F-actin. Gelsolin increased epsilon-ATP exchange with F-actin, which was largely abrogated by the addition of DBP. These results suggest that gelsolin's severing (and subsequent capping) of actin filaments not only results in an increase in the number of pointed filament ends but also in the dissociation of actin monomers containing ADP. Phalloidin, which stabilizes actin filaments while decreasing both monomer and nucleotide exchange, inhibited actin-induced aggregation, as well, indicating that depolymerization of actin filaments is not required to inhibit aggregation. Platelet activation by either G- or F- actin may thus be regulated by the local concentrations of the plasma actin-binding proteins gelsolin and DBP. Together, these proteins inhibit platelet aggregation in a manner that can be explained by their effects on actin's filament structure and the accessibility of its bound ADP. Depletion of DBP or gelsolin may allow actin released from injured tissues to stimulate purinergic receptors on platelets, and perhaps other cells, via its bound adenine nucleotides.

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