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Since their discovery, immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibition motif (ITIM)-containing receptors have been shown to inhibit signaling from immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-containing receptors in almost all hematopoietic cells, including platelets. However, a growing body of evidence has emerged demonstrating that this is an oversimplification, and that ITIM-containing receptors are versatile regulators of platelet signal transduction, with functions beyond inhibiting ITAM-mediated platelet activation. PECAM-1 was the first ITIM-containing receptor identified in platelets and appeared to conform to the established model of ITIM-mediated attenuation of ITAM-driven activation. PECAM-1 was therefore widely accepted as a major negative regulator of platelet activation and thrombosis for many years, but more recent findings suggest a more complex role for this receptor, including the facilitation of αIIbβ3-mediated platelet functions. Since the identification of PECAM-1, several other ITIM-containing platelet receptors have been discovered. These include G6b-B, a critical regulator of platelet reactivity and production, and the noncanonical ITIM-containing receptor TREM-like transcript-1, which is localized to α-granules in resting platelets, binds fibrinogen, and acts as a positive regulator of platelet activation. Despite structural similarities and shared binding partners, including the Src homology 2 domain-containing protein-tyrosine phosphatases Shp1 and Shp2, knockout and transgenic mouse models have revealed distinct phenotypes and nonredundant functions for each ITIM-containing receptor in the context of platelet homeostasis. These roles are likely influenced by receptor density, compartmentalization, and as-yet unknown binding partners. In this review, we discuss the diverse repertoire of ITIM-containing receptors in platelets, highlighting intriguing new functions, controversies, and future areas of investigation. © 2017 by The American Society of Hematology.


Carmen H Coxon, Mitchell J Geer, Yotis A Senis. ITIM receptors: more than just inhibitors of platelet activation. Blood. 2017 Jun 29;129(26):3407-3418

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PMID: 28465343

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