Semin Thromb Hemost 2004; 30(4): 491-498
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-833484
Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Change in Protein Phenotype without a Nucleus: Translational Control in Platelets

Andrew S. Weyrich1 , 4 , 6 , Stephan Lindemann7 , Neal D. Tolley4 , Larry W. Kraiss3 , 4 , Dan A. Dixon8 , Tracey M. Mahoney4 , Stephen P. Prescott1 , 5 , Tom M. McIntyre1 , 2 , 4 , Guy A. Zimmerman1 , 4
  • 1Departments of Internal Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2Departments of Pathology and Surgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 3Departments of Surgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 4Eccles Institute of Human Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 5Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 6Associate Professor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 7Department of Medicine, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
  • 8Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
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08. September 2004 (online)

For most cells the nucleus takes center stage. Not only is it the largest organelle in eukaryotic cells, it carries most of the genome and transcription of DNA to RNA largely takes place in the nucleus. Because transcription is a major step in gene regulation, the absence of a nucleus is limiting from a biosynthetic standpoint. Consequently, the anucleate status of platelets has stereotyped it as a cell without synthetic potential. It is now clear, however, that this viewpoint is far too simplistic. In response to physiologic stimuli, platelets synthesize biologically relevant proteins that are regulated via gene expression programs at the translational level. This process does not require a nucleus; instead, it uses mRNAs and other translational factors that appear to be retained in specialized fashion as megakaryocytes generate platelets during thrombopoiesis. We highlight the molecular machinery and pathways used by platelets to translate mRNA into protein and offer insight into how these synthesized products may regulate thrombotic and inflammatory events.


Andrew S Weyrich, Ph.D. 

Human Molecular Biology and Genetics, Bldg. 533

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