A point mutation leads to an unpaired cysteine residue and a molecular weight polymorphism of a functional platelet beta 3 integrin subunit. The Sra alloantigen system of GPIIIa.
Recently, we described a low frequency platelet alloantigen on human platelet membrane glycoprotein (GP) IIIa, termed Sra, that was involved in neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia. To identify the molecular nature of the Sra alloantigen, we analyzed the nucleotide sequence of polymerase chain reaction-amplified GPIIIa mRNA, and found a C2004-->T substitution in seven Sra positive individuals which results in an Arg636-->Cys polymorphism within the cysteine-rich region of GPIIIa. Analysis of allele-specific recombinant forms of GPIIIa that differed only at amino acid residue 636 showed that anti-Sra alloantibodies reacted with the Cys636, but not the Arg636, recombinant form of GPIIIa. Interestingly, under reducing conditions, the Cys636 form of GPIIIa migrated with a slightly increased apparent molecular weight compared with the Arg636 form. Following treatment with Endoglycosidase H, both allelic forms of GPIIIa exhibited the same mobility, however the Sra epitope was lost. Sra positive platelets express the same number of GPIIb-IIIa complexes on their surface as wild-type Sra negative platelets, and also aggregate normally in response to a variety of platelet agonists. Based upon these results, we conclude that 1) GPIIIa residue 636 specifically controls the formation and expression of the Sra alloantigenic determinant, and 2) an unpaired cysteine residue alters the N-linked glycosylation pattern of the extracellular domain of GPIIIa, but affects neither the degree of surface expression nor the adhesive function of the GPIIb-IIIa complex.