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Long-Sought Receptor On Blood Platelets Identified

 
  January, 15 2001 4:09
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THE STICKING PLACE

The identification this week’s Nature (Vol. 409, No. 6817, 11 Jan 2001, pp. 202–207; News &Views) of a long-sought receptor on blood platelets explains the effects of two drugs used to prevent strokes and heart attacks; it also points the way to developing other such drugs. Pamela B. Conley of COR Therapeutics, South San Francisco, California, and colleagues cloned the receptor, called ‘P2Y12’; they also provide evidence that a patient with a bleeding disorder has a defect in this gene.

Platelets are central to the process of wound healing. A platelet must be activated seconds after it approaches a damaged site; otherwise, bleeding continues. But overly responsive platelets risk blocking normal blood flow in the smaller vessels of the heart and brain, particularly where atherosclerosis — cholesterol-laden plaques — has narrowed and damaged the vessels. Hence the interest in studying the receptors for platelet-activating substances, which could perhaps be controlled to prevent the unwanted formation of platelet plugs which can cause strokes and heart attacks.

"All in all, they make a convincing case that they have indeed identified this biologically and clinically important molecule," says Skip Brass of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in an accompanying News and Views article.

CONTACT:

Pamela B. Conley
tel +1 650 244 6839
fax +1 650 244 9270 / 9208
e-mail pconley@corr.com

Skip Brass
tel +1 215 573 3540
fax +1 215 573 2189
e-mail brass@mail.med.upenn.edu

(C) Nature press release.


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