The interindividual variation in the functional response of platelets to activation by agonists is heritable. Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of quantitative measures of platelet function have identified fewer than 20 distinctly associated variants, some with unknown mechanisms. Here, we report GWASs of pathway-specific functional responses to agonism by adenosine 5'-diphosphate, a glycoprotein VI-specific collagen mimetic, and thrombin receptor-agonist peptides, each specific to 1 of the G protein-coupled receptors PAR-1 and PAR-4, in subsets of 1562 individuals. We identified an association (P = 2.75 × 10-40) between a common intronic variant, rs10886430, in the G protein-coupled receptor kinase 5 gene (GRK5) and the sensitivity of platelets to activate through PAR-1. The variant resides in a megakaryocyte-specific enhancer that is bound by the transcription factors GATA1 and MEIS1. The minor allele (G) is associated with fewer GRK5 transcripts in platelets and the greater sensitivity of platelets to activate through PAR-1. We show that thrombin-mediated activation of human platelets causes binding of GRK5 to PAR-1 and that deletion of the mouse homolog Grk5 enhances thrombin-induced platelet activation sensitivity and increases platelet accumulation at the site of vascular injury. This corroborates evidence that the human G allele of rs10886430 is associated with a greater risk for cardiovascular disease. In summary, by combining the results of pathway-specific GWASs and expression quantitative trait locus studies in humans with the results from platelet function studies in Grk5-/- mice, we obtain evidence that GRK5 regulates the human platelet response to thrombin via the PAR-1 pathway.
Recommended CitationDownes, Kate; Zhao, Xuefei; Gleadall, Nicholas S; McKinney, Harriet; Kempster, Carly; Batista, Joana; Thomas, Patrick L; Cooper, Matthew; Michael, James V; Kreuzhuber, Roman; Wedderburn, Katherine; Waller, Kathryn; Varney, Bianca; Verdier, Hippolyte; Kriek, Neline; Ashford, Sofie E; Stirrups, Kathleen E; Dunster, Joanne L; McKenzie, Steven E; Ouwehand, Willem H; Gibbins, Jonathan M; Yang, Jing; Astle, William J; and Ma, Peisong, "G protein-coupled receptor kinase 5 regulates thrombin signaling in platelets via PAR-1." (2022). Cardeza Foundation for Hematologic Research. Paper 70.
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