Focus of Research: Platelets and Angiogenesis
Harvard Medical School
One of the main functions of blood platelets is to secrete a variety of substances that can modify a developing thrombus, regulate the growth of the vasculature, promote wound repair, and contribute to cell-adhesive events. A majority of this vast array of secreted proteins are stored in alpha-granules. Until recently, it was assumed that platelets contained one homogeneous population of alpha-granules that undergo complete de-granulation during platelet activation. This review focuses on the mechanisms of alpha-granule biogenesis and secretion, with a particular emphasis on recent findings that clearly demonstrate that platelets contain distinct subpopulations of alpha-granules that undergo differential release during activation. We consider the implications of this new paradigm of platelet secretion, discuss mechanisms of alpha-granule biogenesis, and review the molecular basis of transport and delivery of alpha-granules to assembling platelets.
J Thromb Haemost. 2009 Jul;7 Suppl 1:173-6.