We studied the actions of receptor-activating peptide analogues (PAR4APs), modeled on the proteolytically-revealed tethered ligand sequence of murine proteinase-activated receptor-4 (PAR4), in a rat platelet aggregation assay. The PAR4APs GYPGKF-NH2 (GY-NH2) and AYPGKF-NH2 (AY-NH2) were able to cause aggregation with EC50 values of about 40 microM and 15 microM, respectively. The reverse human PAR4 sequence (VQGPYG-NH2, YG-NH2) and the PAR1AP SFLLR-NH2, did not cause aggregation. In contrast, trans-cinnamoyl-YPGKF-NH2 (tcY-NH2) did not cause aggregation but blocked aggregation caused by GY-NH2, AY-NH2, and thrombin without affecting ADP-mediated aggregation. We conclude that in contrast to the PAR1AP, the PAR4APs GY-NH2 and AY-NH2 activate rat platelets via a PAR4-related receptor and that peptide analogues modeled on the PAR4 tethered activating sequence can serve as useful agonist and antagonist probes for assessing the consequence of activating PAR4 either by PAR4APs or thrombin in rat tissue preparations.