Reprogramming Megakaryocytes for Controlled Release of Platelet-like Particles Carrying a Single-Chain Thromboxane A2 Receptor-G-Protein Complex with Therapeutic Potential

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In this study, we reported that novel single-chain fusion proteins linking thromboxane A2 (TXA2) receptor (TP) to a selected G-protein α-subunit q (SC-TP-Gαq) or to α-subunit s (SC-TP-Gαs) could be stably expressed in megakaryocytes (MKs). We tested the MK-released platelet-linked particles (PLPs) to be used as a vehicle to deliver the overexpressed SC-TP-Gαq or the SC-TP-Gαs to regulate human platelet function. To understand how the single-chain TP-Gα fusion proteins could regulate opposite platelet activities by an identical ligand TXA2, we tested their dual functions—binding to ligands and directly linking to different signaling pathways within a single polypeptide chain—using a 3D structural model. The immature MKs were cultured and transfected with cDNAs constructed from structural models of the individual SC-TP-Gαq and SC-TP-Gαs, respectively. After transient expression was identified, the immature MKs stably expressing SC-TP-Gαq or SC-TP-Gαs (stable cell lines) were selected. The stable cell lines were induced into mature MKs which released PLPs. Western blot analysis confirmed that the released PLPs were carrying the recombinant SC-TP-Gαq or SC-TP-Gαs. Flow cytometry analysis showed that the PLPs carrying SC-TP-Gαq were able to perform the activity by promoting platelet aggregation. In contrast, PLPs carrying SC-TP-Gαs reversed Gq to Gs signaling to inhibit platelet aggregation. This is the first time demonstrating that SC-TP-Gαq and SC-TP-Gαs were successfully overexpressed in MK cells and released as PLPs with proper folding and programmed biological activities. This bio-engineering led to the formation of two sets of biologically active PLP forms mediating calcium and cAMP signaling, respectively. As a result, these PLPs are able to bind to identical endogenous TXA2 with opposite activities, inhibiting and promoting platelet aggregation as reprogrammed for therapeutic process. Results also demonstrated that the nucleus-free PLPs could be used to deliver recombinant membrane-bound GPCRs to regulate cellular activity in general.

Cells 12 (24): 2775 (2023)