Autophagy is induced upon platelet activation and is essential for hemostasis and thrombosis

Madhu M. Ouseph, Yunjie Huang, Meenakshi Banerjee, Smita Joshi, Laura MacDonald, Yu Zhong, Huijuan Liu, Xianting Li, Binggang Xiang, Guoying Zhang, Massaki Komatsu, Zhenyu Yue, Zhenyu Li, Brian Storrie, Sidney W. Whiteheart, Qing Jun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Autophagy is important for maintaining cellular homeostasis, and thus its deficiency is implicated in a broad spectrum of human diseases. Its role in platelet function has only recently been examined. Our biochemical and imaging studies demonstrate that the core autophagy machinery exists in platelets, and that autophagy is constitutively active in resting platelets. Moreover, autophagy is induced upon platelet activation, as indicated by agonist-induced loss of the autophagy marker LC3II. Additional experiments, using inhibitors of platelet activation, proteases, and lysosomal acidification, as well as platelets from knockout mouse strains, show that agonist-induced LC3II loss is a consequence of platelet signaling cascades and requires proteases, acidic compartments, and membrane fusion. To assess the physiological role of platelet autophagy, we generated a mouse strain with a megakaryocyte- and platelet-specific deletion of Atg7, an enzyme required for LC3II production. Ex vivo analysis of platelets from these mice shows modest defects in aggregation and granule cargo packaging. Although these mice have normal platelet numbers and size distributions, they exhibit a robust bleeding diathesis in the tail-bleeding assay and a prolonged occlusion time in the FeCl3-induced carotid injury model. Our results demonstrate that autophagy occurs in platelets and is important for hemostasis and thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1233
Number of pages10
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 3 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by The American Society of Hematology.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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