SNARE-dependent membrane fusion initiates α-granule matrix decondensation in mouse platelets

Irina D. Pokrovskaya, Smita Joshi, Michael Tobin, Rohan Desai, Maria A. Aronova, Jeffrey A. Kamykowski, Guofeng Zhang, Sidney W. Whiteheart, Richard D. Leapman, Brian Storrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Platelet α-granule cargo release is fundamental to both hemostasis and thrombosis. Granule matrix hydration is a key regulated step in this process, yet its mechanism is poorly understood. In endothelial cells, there is evidence for 2modes of cargo release: A jack-in-The-box mechanism of hydration-dependent protein phase transitions and an actin-driven granule constriction/extrusion mechanism. The third alternative considered is a prefusion, channel-mediated granule swelling, analogous to the membrane "ballooning" seen in procoagulant platelets. Using thrombin-stimulated platelets from a set of secretion-deficient, soluble N-ethylmaleimide factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) mutant mice and various ultrastructural approaches, we tested predictions of these mechanisms to distinguish which best explains the α-granule release process.We found that the granule decondensation/ hydration required for cargo expulsion was (1) blocked in fusion-protein-deficient platelets; (2) characterized by a fusion-dependent transition in granule size in contrast to a preswollen intermediate; (3) determined spatially with α-granules located close to the plasma membrane (PM) decondensing more readily; (4) propagated from the site of granule fusion; and (5) traced, in 3-dimensional space, to individual granule fusion events at the PM or less commonly at the canalicular system. In sum, the properties of α-granule decondensation/ matrix hydration strongly indicate that α-granule cargo expulsion is likely by a jack-in-The-box mechanism rather than by gradual channel-regulated water influx or by a granule-constriction mechanism. These experiments, in providing a structural and mechanistic basis for cargo expulsion, should be informative in understanding the α-granule release reaction in the context of hemostasis and thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2947-2958
Number of pages12
JournalBlood advances
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 13 2018

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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