Quaternary organization of GPIb-IX complex and insights into Bernard-Soulier syndrome revealed by the structures of GPIbβ and a GPIbβ/GPIX chimera

Paul A. McEwan, Wenjun Yang, Katherine H. Carr, Xi Mo, Xiaofeng Zheng, Renhao Li and Jonas Emsley


Platelet GPIb-IX receptor complex has 3 subunits GPIbα, GPIbβ, and GPIX, which assemble with a ratio of 1:2:1. Dysfunction in surface expression of the complex leads to Bernard-Soulier syndrome. We have crystallized the GPIbβ ectodomain (GPIbβE) and determined the structure to show a single leucine-rich repeat with N- and C-terminal disulphide-bonded capping regions. The structure of a chimera of GPIbβE and 3 loops (a,b,c) taken from the GPIX ectodomain sequence was also determined. The chimera (GPIbβEabc), but not GPIbβE, forms a tetramer in the crystal, showing a quaternary interface between GPIbβ and GPIX. Central to this interface is residue Tyr106 from GPIbβ, which inserts into a pocket generated by 2 loops (b,c) from GPIX. Mutagenesis studies confirmed this interface as a valid representation of interactions between GPIbβ and GPIX in the full-length complex. Eight GPIbβ missense mutations identified from patients with Bernard-Soulier syndrome were examined for changes to GPIb-IX complex surface expression. Two mutations, A108P and P74R, were found to maintain normal secretion/folding of GPIbβE but were unable to support GPIX surface expression. The close structural proximity of these mutations to Tyr106 and the GPIbβE interface with GPIX indicates they disrupt the quaternary organization of the GPIb-IX complex.

  • Submitted May 22, 2011.
  • Accepted August 22, 2011.
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