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Membrane rafts are spatially and functionally heterogenous in the cell membrane. We observed that lysenin-positive sphingomyelin (SM)-rich rafts are identified histochemically in the central region of adhered platelets where fibrin and myosin are colocalized on activation by thrombin. The clot retraction of SM-depleted platelets from SM synthase knockout mouse was delayed significantly, suggesting that platelet SM-rich rafts are involved in clot retraction. We found that fibrin converted by thrombin translocated immediately in platelet detergent-resistant membrane (DRM) rafts but that from Glanzmann's thrombasthenic platelets failed. The fibrinogen γ-chain C-terminal (residues 144-411) fusion protein translocated to platelet DRM rafts on thrombin activation, but its mutant that was replaced by A398A399 at factor XIII crosslinking sites (Q398Q399) was inhibited. Furthermore, fibrin translocation to DRM rafts was impaired in factor XIII A subunit-deficient mouse platelets, which show impaired clot retraction. In the cytoplasm, myosin translocated concomitantly with fibrin translocation into the DRM raft of thrombin-stimulated platelets. Furthermore, the disruption of SM-rich rafts by methyl-β-cyclodextrin impaired myosin activation and clot retraction. Thus, we propose that clot retraction takes place in SM-rich rafts where a fibrin-αIIbβ3-myosin complex is formed as a primary axis to promote platelet contraction.

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