Conformation-Specific Blockade of the Integrin GPIIb/IIIa Academic Article uri icon


  • Platelet activation causes conformational changes of integrin GPIIb/IIIa (alpha(IIb)beta3), resulting in the exposure of its ligand-binding pocket. This provides the unique possibility to design agents that specifically block activated platelets only. We used phage display of single-chain antibody (scFv) libraries in combination with several rounds of depletion/selection to obtain human scFvs that bind specifically to the activated conformation of GPIIb/IIIa. Functional evaluation of these scFv clones revealed that fibrinogen binding to human platelets and platelet aggregation can be effectively inhibited by activation-specific scFvs. In contrast to clinically used GPIIb/IIIa blockers, which are all conformation unspecific, activation-specific GPIIb/IIIa blockers do not induce conformational changes in GPIIb/IIIa or outside-in signaling, as evaluated by ligand-induced binding-site (LIBS) exposure in flow cytometry or P-selectin expression in immunofluorescence microscopy, respectively. In contrast to the conformation-unspecific blocker abciximab, activation-specific scFvs permit cell adhesion and spreading on immobilized fibrinogen, which is mediated by nonactivated GPIIb/IIIa. Mutagenesis studies and computer modeling indicate that exclusive binding of activation-specific scFv is mediated by RXD motifs in the heavy-chain complementary-determining region (CDR) 3 of the antibodies, which in comparison with other antibodies forms an exceptionally extended loop. In vivo experiments in a ferric-chloride thrombosis model of the mouse carotid artery demonstrate similar antithrombotic potency of activation-specific scFv, when compared with the conformation-unspecific blockers tirofiban and eptifibatide. However, in contrast to tirofiban and eptifibatide, bleeding times are not prolonged with the activation-specific scFvs, suggesting lower bleeding risks. In conclusion, activation-specific GPIIb/IIIa blockade via human single-chain antibodies represents a promising novel strategy for antiplatelet therapy.


  • Schwarz, Meike
  • Meade, Gerardene
  • Stoll, Patrick
  • Ylanne, Jari
  • Bassler, Nicole
  • Chen, Yung Chih
  • Hagemeyer, Christoph E
  • Ahrens, Ingo
  • Moran, Niamh
  • Kenny, Dermot
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond
  • Bode, Christoph
  • Peter, Karlheinz

publication date

  • July 7, 2006

has subject area