The structure and function of platelet integrins

J Thromb Haemost. 2009 Jul;7 Suppl 1:200-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1538-7836.2009.03378.x.


Integrins are a ubiquitous family of non-covalently associated alpha/beta transmembrane heterodimers linking extracellular ligands to intracellular signaling pathways [1] [Cell, 2002; 110: 673]. Platelets contain five integrins, three beta1 integrins that mediate platelet adhesion to the matrix proteins collagen, fibronectin and laminin, and the beta3 integrins alphavbeta3 and alphaIIbbeta3 [2] [J Clin Invest, 2005; 115: 3363]. While there are only several hundred alphavbeta3 molecules per platelet, alphavbeta3 mediates platelet adhesion to osteopontin and vitronectin in vitro [3] [J Biol Chem, 1997; 272: 8137]; whether this occurs in vivo remains unknown. By contrast, the 80,000 alphaIIbbeta3 molecules on agonist-stimulated platelets bind fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor, and fibronectin, mediating platelet aggregation when the bound proteins crosslink adjacent platelets [2] [J Clin Invest, 2005; 115: 3363]. Although platelet integrins are poised to shift from resting to active conformations, tight regulation of their activity is essential to prevent the formation of intravascular thrombi. This review focuses on the structure and function of the intensively studied beta3 integrins, in particular alphaIIbbeta3, but reference will be made to other integrins where relevant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelets / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Integrin beta3 / chemistry*
  • Integrins / chemistry*
  • Integrins / physiology*
  • Platelet Glycoprotein GPIIb-IIIa Complex


  • Integrin beta3
  • Integrins
  • Platelet Glycoprotein GPIIb-IIIa Complex