Mechanisms of receptor shedding in platelets

Samantha J. Montague, Robert K. Andrews and Elizabeth E. Gardiner


The ability to upregulate and downregulate surface-exposed proteins and receptors is a powerful process that allows a cell to instantly respond to its microenvironment. In particular, mobile cells in the bloodstream must rapidly react to conditions where infection or inflammation are detected, and become proadhesive, phagocytic, and/or procoagulant. Platelets are one such blood cell that must rapidly acquire and manage proadhesive and procoagulant properties in order to execute their primary function in hemostasis. The regulation of platelet membrane properties is achieved via several mechanisms, one of which involves the controlled metalloproteolytic release of adhesion receptors and other proteins from the platelet surface. Proteolysis effectively lowers receptor density and reduces the reactivity of platelets, and is a mechanism to control robust platelet activation. Recent research has also established clear links between levels of platelet receptors and platelet lifespan. In this review, we will discuss the current knowledge of metalloproteolytic receptor regulation in the vasculature with emphasis on the platelet receptor system to highlight how receptor density can influence both platelet function and platelet survival.

  • Submitted March 1, 2018.
  • Accepted October 12, 2018.
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