We have recently shown that several components from the platelet plasma membrane were also present at different rates in the alpha-granule membrane. This is the case for the glycoprotein (GP) IIb-IIIa (CD41), CD36, CD9, PECAM1, and Rap1b, while the GPIB-IX-V complex was considered to escape the rule. In this investigation, we studied the subcellular localization of GPIb, GPIX, and GPV in the resting platelets of normal subjects, patients with Bernard-Soulier syndrome, patients with Gray platelet syndrome, and human cultured megakaryocytes. Ultra-thin sections of the cells were labeled with antibodies directed against glycocalicin, GPIb, GPIX, and GPV. We have shown that a significant and reproducible labeling for the three GPs was associated with the alpha-granule membrane, accounting for approximately 10% of the total labeling. Furthermore, GPIb labeling appears Willebrand factor (vWF). After thrombin activation, vWF remained close to the limiting membrane of the open canalicular system (OCS), suggesting an early association of both receptor and ligand. Plasma membrane and alpha-granule labeling was virtually absent from the Bernard-Soulier platelets (characterized by a GPIb deficiency), thus proving the specificity of the reaction. In Gray platelets (storage granule deficiency syndrome), the small residual alpha- granules were also occasionally labeled for GPIb, GPIX, and GPIX. Cultured megakaryocytes that displayed the classical GPIb distribution, eg, demarcation and plasma membranes, exhibited also a discrete labeling associated to the alpha-granules. In conclusion, this study shows that, evenly for these three GPs, the alpha-granule membrane mirrors the plasma membrane composition. This might occur through an endocytotic process affecting each plasma membrane protein to a different extent and could have a physiologic relevance in further presentation of a receptor bound to its alpha-granule ligand to the platelet surface.

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