Munc18-syntaxin complexes and exocytosis in human platelets

Aiilyan Houng, János Polgár, Guy L. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The Sec1-Munc18 (SM) proteins are required for cellular exocytosis, but their mechanistic function remains poorly understood. We examined SM-syntaxin complexes in human platelets, which are terminally differentiated, anuclear cells that secrete the contents of their intracellular granules through syntaxin 2- and syntaxin 4-dependent mechanisms. Munc18a, Munc18b, and Munc18c were detected in human platelets by immunoblotting and/or PCR. The SM proteins and syntaxin 2 were found in the membrane and cytosolic fractions of cells, whereas syntaxin 4 was detected only in the membrane. Platelet membranes contain Munc18c-syntaxin 4 complexes, but minimal if any Munc18c-syntaxin 2 complexes were found. No significant amounts of Munc18a or Munc18b complexes were seen with either syntaxin. Munc18c-syntaxin 4 complexes were dissociated when cells were activated to secrete. Two potential inhibitors of Munc18c-syntaxin 4 complexes were generated to examine whether complex dissociation may lead to exocytosis. Peptides that mimic the projected intermolecular contact sites of Munc18c with syntaxin enhanced Ca2+-triggered dense granule exocytosis in permeabilized cells. Similarly, an anti-Munc18c monoclonal antibody that inhibited the Munc18c-syntaxin complex potently amplified Ca2+-induced platelet granule secretion. In summary, Munc18 proteins bind to specific syntaxin isoforms in platelets despite the presence of other potential binding partners. Acute inhibition of the SM-syntaxin complex promotes Ca2+-induced exocytosis, suggesting that complex formation per se has a regulatory effect on triggered secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19627-19633
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 30 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Munc18-syntaxin complexes and exocytosis in human platelets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this