Pepducin-based intervention of thrombin-receptor signaling and systemic platelet activation

Nat Med. 2002 Oct;8(10):1161-5. doi: 10.1038/nm760. Epub 2002 Sep 23.


Transmembrane signaling through G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) controls a diverse array of cellular processes including metabolism, growth, motility, adhesion, neuronal signaling and blood coagulation. The numerous GPCRs and their key roles in both normal physiology and disease have made them the target for more than 50% of all prescribed drugs. GPCR agonists and antagonists act on the extracellular side of the receptors, whereas the intracellular surface has not yet been exploited for development of new therapeutic agents. Here, we demonstrate the utility of novel cell-penetrating peptides, termed 'pepducins', that act as intracellular inhibitors of signal transference from receptors to G proteins. Attachment of a palmitate lipid to peptides based on the third intracellular loop of protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR1) or PAR4 (refs. 3-5) yielded potent inhibitors of thrombin-mediated aggregation of human platelets. Infusion of the anti-PAR4 pepducin into mice extended bleeding time and protected against systemic platelet activation, consistent with the phenotype of PAR4-deficient mice. We show that pepducins might be used to ascertain the physiological roles of GPCRs and rapidly determine the potential therapeutic value of blockade of a particular signaling pathway.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / drug effects*
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Platelet Activation / drug effects*
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, Thrombin / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Peptides
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Thrombin
  • GTP-Binding Proteins