Exposure of phospholipids at the outer surface of activated and control platelets was studied by incubation with a mixture of phospholipase A2 from Naja naja and bee venom, solely or in combination with sphingomyelinase from Staphylococcus aureus, using conditions under which cell lysis remained below 10%. Incubation with phospholipase A2 alone revealed a markedly increased susceptibility of the phospholipids in platelets activated by a mixture of collagen plus thrombin, by the SH-oxidizing compound diamide, or by calcium ionophore A23187, as compared to control platelets or platelets activated separately by collagen or thrombin. Collagen plus thrombin, diamide, and ionophore treated platelets revealed an increased exposure of phosphatidylserine at the outer surface accompanied by a decreased exposure of sphingomyelin, as could be concluded from incubations with a combination of phospholipase A2 and sphingomyelinase. These alterations were much less apparent in platelets activated either by thrombin or by collagen alone. The increased exposure of phosphatidylserine in activated platelets is accompanied by an increased ability of the platelets to enhance the conversion of prothrombin to thrombin by coagulation factor Xa, in the presence of factor Va and calcium. It is concluded that the altered orientation of the phospholipids in the plasma membrane of platelets activated by collagen plus thrombin, by diamide, or by calcium ionophore, is the result of a transbilayer movement. Moreover, the increased exposure of phosphatidylserine in platelets stimulated by the combined action of collagen and thrombin might be of considerable importance for the hemostatic process.