The glycoprotein VI (GPVI)-FcR gamma-chain complex initiates powerful activation of platelets by the subendothelial matrix proteins collagen and laminin through an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-regulated signaling pathway. ITAMs are characterized by two YxxL sequences separated by 6-12 amino acids and are found associated with several classes of immunoglobulin (Ig) and C-type lectin receptors in hematopoietic cells, including Fc receptors. Cross-linking of the Ig GPVI leads to phosphorylation of two conserved tyrosines in the FcR gamma-chain ITAM by Src family tyrosine kinases, followed by binding and activation of the tandem SH2 domain-containing Syk tyrosine kinase and stimulation of a downstream signaling cascade that culminates in activation of phospholipase Cgamma2 (PLCgamma2). In contrast, the C-type lectin receptor CLEC-2 mediates powerful platelet activation through Src and Syk kinases, but regulates Syk through a novel dimerization mechanism via a single YxxL motif known as a hemITAM. CLEC-2 is a receptor for podoplanin, which is expressed at high levels in several tissues, including type 1 lung alveolar cells, lymphatic endothelial cells, kidney podocytes and some tumors, but is absent from vascular endothelial cells and platelets. In this article, we compare the mechanism of platelet activation by GPVI and CLEC-2 and consider their functional roles in hemostasis and other vascular processes, including maintenance of vascular integrity, angiogenesis and lymphogenesis.