Cathepsin G activates protease-activated receptor-4 in human platelets

J Biol Chem. 2000 Mar 10;275(10):6819-23. doi: 10.1074/jbc.275.10.6819.


Of the four known protease-activated receptors (PARs), PAR1 and PAR4 are expressed by human platelets and mediate thrombin signaling. Whether these receptors are redundant, interact, or play at least partially distinct roles is unknown. It is possible that PAR1 and/or PAR4 might confer responsiveness to proteases other than thrombin. The neutrophil granule protease, cathepsin G, is known to cause platelet secretion and aggregation. We now report that this action of cathepsin G is mediated by PAR4. Cathepsin G triggered calcium mobilization in PAR4-transfected fibroblasts, PAR4-expressing Xenopus oocytes, and washed human platelets. An antibody raised against the PAR4 thrombin cleavage site blocked platelet activation by cathepsin G but not other agonists. Desensitization with a PAR4 activating peptide had a similar effect. By contrast, inhibition of PAR1 function had no effect on platelet responses to cathepsin G. When neutrophils were present, the neutrophil agonist fMet-Leu-Phe triggered calcium signaling in Fura-2-loaded platelets. Strikingly, this neutrophil-dependent platelet activation was blocked by the PAR4 antibody. These data show that PAR4 mediates platelet responses to cathepsin G and support the hypothesis that cathepsin G might mediate neutrophil-platelet interactions at sites of vascular injury or inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / drug effects
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Cathepsin G
  • Cathepsins / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • N-Formylmethionine Leucyl-Phenylalanine / pharmacology
  • Neutrophils / physiology
  • Platelet Activation / drug effects*
  • Receptor, PAR-1
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Thrombin / drug effects
  • Serine Endopeptidases


  • Receptor, PAR-1
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Thrombin
  • N-Formylmethionine Leucyl-Phenylalanine
  • Cathepsins
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • CTSG protein, human
  • Cathepsin G
  • Ctsg protein, mouse
  • protease-activated receptor 4