BBS Faculty Member - Joseph Italiano

Joseph Italiano

Department of Medicine

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Harvard Institutes of Medicine, 7th floor, Room 732
4 Blackfan Circle
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617-525-4909
Fax: 617-525-4986
Visit my lab page here.

Our laboratory studies how blood platelets, which function as the bandaids of the bloodstream, are produced from megakaryocyte precursor cells. Megakaryocytes are terminally differentiated cells that in their final hours convert into long, branched proplatelets. We have demonstrated that platelet formation follows a defined set of morphogenetic shape changes driven by forces derived from both microtubules and actin filaments. The overall goal of our research is to elucidate the cytoskeletal mechanics and signaling pathways that culminate in the formation of platelets.

Specifically, the lab uses a mouse megakaryocyte culture system to study platelet production in vitro. Our primary methods include fluorescence microscopy, molecular biology, biochemistry, electron microscopy, and knockout mice. Where possible, we attempt to study the dynamics of proteins in living megakaryocytes or reconstitute cellular process with cell extracts. Current focuses include understanding how microtubule-based forces power the elongation of proplatelets, probing how organelles are transported into platelets, establishing how the spectrin-based membrane skeleton contributes to platelet formation, and determining how actin dynamics powers the formation of platelets.

Last Update: 4/2/2020


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Release of angiogenesis regulatory proteins from platelet alpha granules: modulation of physiological and pathological angiogenesis. Battinelli EM, Markens BA, Italiano JE Jr.
Blood. 2011 Jun 16. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21680800 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

The spectrin-based membrane skeleton stabilizes mouse megakaryocyte membrane systems and is essential for proplatelet and platelet formation. Patel-Hett S, Wang H, Begonja AJ, Thon JN, Alden EC, Wandersee NJ, An X, Mohandas N, Hartwig JH, Italiano JE Jr. Blood. 2011 May 12. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21566095 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Cytoskeletal mechanics of proplatelet maturation and platelet release. Thon JN, Montalvo A, Patel-Hett S, Devine MT, Richardson JL, Ehrlicher A, Larson MK, Hoffmeister K, Hartwig JH, Italiano JE Jr. J Cell Biol. 2010 Nov 15;191(4):861-74. PMID: 21079248 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article

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