• actin cytoskeleton;
  • ADP receptors;
  • PAK;
  • platelet activation;
  • Rac

Summary.  The dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton, largely controlled by the Rho family of small GTPases (Rho, Rac and Cdc42), is critical for the regulation of platelet responses such as shape change, adhesion, spreading and aggregation. Here, we investigated the role of adenosine diphosphate (ADP), a major co-activator of platelets, on the activation of Rac. ADP rapidly activated Rac in a dose-dependent manner and independently of GPIIb/IIIa and phosphoinositide 3-kinase. ADP alone, used as a primary agonist, activated Rac and its effector PAK via its P2Y1 receptor, through a Gq-dependent pathway and independently of P2Y12. The P2Y12 receptor appeared unable to activate the GTPase per se as also observed for the adenosine triphosphate receptor P2X1. Conversely, secreted ADP strongly potentiated Rac activation induced by FcγRIIa clustering or TRAP via its P2Y12 receptor, the target of antithrombotic thienopyridines. Stimulation of the α2A-adrenergic receptor/Gz pathway by epinephrine was able to replace the P2Y12/Gi-mediated pathway to amplify Rac activation by FcγRIIa or by the thrombin receptor PAR-1. This co-activation appeared necessary to reach a full stimulation of Rac as well as PAK activation and actin polymerization and was blocked by a G-protein βγ subunits scavenger peptide.