Convulxin induces platelet shape change through myosin light chain kinase and Rho kinase

Silvia Riondino, Pier Paolo Gazzaniga, Fabio M. Pulcinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Once platelets are activated, the first event to occur is a rapid change in shape, associated with Ca2+/calmodulin- dependent myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation and with Rho kinase activation. The purpose of this study was to investigate which is the biochemical pathway that leads to platelet shape change in response to convulxin, a selective GpVI activator, and to verify whether MLC phosphorylation is essential for this process. The inhibition of the Ca2+- dependent pathway by means of the Ca2+ chelator BAPTA, the Ca2+/calmodulin inhibitor W-7 or the cAMP enhancing drug iloprost reduced about 50% of platelet shape change in response to convulxin. The treatment with either the Rho kinase inhibitors Y27632 or HA 1077 had no effect on platelet shape change induced by convulxin. When both Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent and Rho kinase-dependent pathways were concomitantly inhibited by the combined use of Y27632 plus BAPTA, W-7 or iloprost, platelet shape change was completely abolished. Our findings suggest that convulxin-induced platelet shape change occurs via both pathways, the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent, which appears to be more important, and the Rho kinase-dependent one. The pattern of MLC phosphorylation was not modified by Rho kinase inhibitors. Conversely, the inhibition of the Ca2+-dependent pathway caused a strong reduction of MLC phosphorylation in BAPTA-treated platelets, and a total inhibition in W-7 or iloprost-treated platelets. Our results demonstrate that following Rho kinase-dependent pathway platelet shape change can occur without the involvement of MLC phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5878-5884
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Convulxin
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Myosin light chain kinase
  • Platelet shape change
  • Rho kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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