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De novo protein synthesis in mature platelets: a consideration for transfusion medicine


Dr Dana V. Devine, Canadian Blood Services, Centre for Blood Research, University of British Columbia, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada


Platelet function in thrombosis and haemostasis is reasonably well understood at the molecular level with respect to the proteins involved in cellular structure, signalling networks and platelet interaction with clotting factors and other cells. However, the natural history of these proteins has only recently garnered the attention of platelet researchers. De novo protein synthesis in platelets was discovered 40 years ago; however, it was generally dismissed as merely an interesting minor phenomenon until studies over the past few years renewed interest in this aspect of platelet proteins. It is now accepted that anucleate platelets not only have the potential to synthesize proteins, but this capacity seems to be required to fulfil their function. With translational control as the primary mode of regulation, platelets are able to express biologically relevant gene products in a timely and signal-dependent manner. Platelet protein synthesis during storage of platelet concentrates is a nascent area of research. Protein synthesis does occur, although not for all proteins found in the platelet protein profile. Furthermore, mRNA appears to be well preserved under standard storage conditions. Although its significance is not yet understood, the ability to replace proteins may form a type of cellular repair mechanism during storage. Disruption by inappropriate storage conditions or processes that block protein synthesis such as pathogen reduction technologies may have direct effects on the ability of platelets to synthesize proteins during storage.