Exposure of cryptic actin filament fast growing ends (barbed ends) initiates actin polymerization in stimulated human and mouse platelets. Gelsolin amplifies platelet actin assembly by severing F-actin and increasing the number of barbed ends. Actin filaments in stimulated platelets from transgenic gelsolin-null mice elongate their actin without severing. F-actin barbed end capping activity persists in human platelet extracts, depleted of gelsolin, and the heterodimeric capping protein (CP) accounts for this residual activity. 35% of the approximately 5 microM CP is associated with the insoluble actin cytoskeleton of the resting platelet. Since resting platelets have an F-actin barbed end concentration of approximately 0.5 microM, sufficient CP is bound to cap these ends. CP is released from OG-permeabilized platelets by treatment with phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate or through activation of the thrombin receptor. However, the fraction of CP bound to the actin cytoskeleton of thrombin-stimulated mouse and human platelets increases rapidly to approximately 60% within 30 s. In resting platelets from transgenic mice lacking gelsolin, which have 33% more F-actin than gelsolin-positive cells, there is a corresponding increase in the amount of CP associated with the resting cytoskeleton but no change with stimulation. These findings demonstrate an interaction between the two major F-actin barbed end capping proteins of the platelet: gelsolin-dependent severing produces barbed ends that are capped by CP. Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate release of gelsolin and CP from platelet cytoskeleton provides a mechanism for mediating barbed end exposure. After actin assembly, CP reassociates with the new actin cytoskeleton.

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