Megakaryocytes release large preplatelet intermediates into the sinusoidal blood vessels. Preplatelets convert into barbell-shaped proplatelets in vitro to undergo repeated abscissions that yield circulating platelets. These observations predict the presence of circular-preplatelets and barbell-proplatelets in blood, and two fundamental questions in platelet biology are what are the forces that determine barbell-proplatelet formation, and how is the final platelet size established. Here we provide insights into the terminal mechanisms of platelet production. We quantify circular-preplatelets and barbell-proplatelets in human blood in high-resolution fluorescence images, using a laser scanning cytometry assay. We demonstrate that force constraints resulting from cortical microtubule band diameter and thickness determine barbell-proplatelet formation. Finally, we provide a mathematical model for the preplatelet to barbell conversion. We conclude that platelet size is limited by microtubule bundling, elastic bending, and actin-myosin-spectrin cortex forces.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy