Tetherin/BST2, a physiologically and therapeutically relevant regulator of platelet receptor signalling

Xiaojuan Zhao, Dominic R Alibhai, Jawad S Khalil, Christopher M Williams , Yong Li, Richard B Sessions, Stephen Cross, Richard A Seager, M S R H Aungraheeta, Alan D Leard, Caroline M McKinnon, David J Phillips, Alastair W Poole, George S Banting, Stuart J Mundell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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The reactivity of platelets, which play a key role in the pathogenesis of atherothrombosis, is tightly regulated. The integral membrane protein tetherin/bone marrow stromal antigen-2 (BST-2) regulates membrane organization, altering both lipid and protein distribution within the plasma membrane. Because membrane microdomains have an established role in platelet receptor biology, we sought to characterize the physiological relevance of tetherin/BST-2 in those cells. To characterize the potential importance of tetherin/BST-2 to platelet function, we used tetherin/BST-2−/− murine platelets. In the mice, we found enhanced function and signaling downstream of a subset of membrane microdomain–expressing receptors, including the P2Y12, TP thromboxane, thrombin, and GPVI receptors. Preliminary studies in humans have revealed that treatment with interferon-α (IFN-α), which upregulates platelet tetherin/BST-2 expression, also reduces adenosine diphosphate–stimulated platelet receptor function and reactivity. A more comprehensive understanding of how tetherin/BST-2 negatively regulates receptor function was provided in cell line experiments, where we focused on the therapeutically relevant P2Y12 receptor (P2Y12R). Tetherin/BST-2 expression reduced both P2Y12R activation and trafficking, which was accompanied by reduced receptor lateral mobility specifically within membrane microdomains. In fluorescence lifetime imaging-Förster resonance energy transfer (FLIM-FRET)–based experiments, agonist stimulation reduced basal association between P2Y12R and tetherin/BST-2. Notably, the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor of tetherin/BST-2 was required for both receptor interaction and observed functional effects. In summary, we established, for the first time, a fundamental role of the ubiquitously expressed protein tetherin/BST-2 in negatively regulating membrane microdomain–expressed platelet receptor function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1884–1898
Number of pages15
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by British Heart Foundation Project Grants PG/13/94/30594 (X.Z.) and PG/17/62/33190 (J.K.); Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Key Laboratory of Gene Therapy for Blood Disease (2017PT31047, China); and CAMS Initiative for Innovative Medicine (2016-12M-1-018; 2017-12M-1-015, China).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by The American Society of Hematology.


  • Platelets and Thrombopoiesis
  • Thrombosis and Hemostasis
  • blood platelets
  • bone marrow stromal antigen 2
  • signal transduction


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    Sadaf R Alam (Manager), Steven A Chapman (Manager), Polly E Eccleston (Other), Simon H Atack (Other) & D A G Williams (Manager)

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