An agent-based approach for modelling and simulation of glycoprotein VI receptor diffusion, localisation and dimerisation in platelet lipid rafts

Chukiat Tantiwong, Joanne L Dunster, Rachel Cavill, Michael G Tomlinson, Christoph Wierling, Johan W M Heemskerk, Jonathan M Gibbins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Receptor diffusion plays an essential role in cellular signalling via the plasma membrane microenvironment and receptor interactions, but the regulation is not well understood. To aid in understanding of the key determinants of receptor diffusion and signalling, we developed agent-based models (ABMs) to explore the extent of dimerisation of the platelet- and megakaryocyte-specific receptor for collagen glycoprotein VI (GPVI). This approach assessed the importance of glycolipid enriched raft-like domains within the plasma membrane that lower receptor diffusivity. Our model simulations demonstrated that GPVI dimers preferentially concentrate in confined domains and, if diffusivity within domains is decreased relative to outside of domains, dimerisation rates are increased. While an increased amount of confined domains resulted in further dimerisation, merging of domains, which may occur upon membrane rearrangements, was without effect. Modelling of the proportion of the cell membrane which constitutes lipid rafts indicated that dimerisation levels could not be explained by these alone. Crowding of receptors by other membrane proteins was also an important determinant of GPVI dimerisation. Together, these results demonstrate the value of ABM approaches in exploring the interactions on a cell surface, guiding the experimentation for new therapeutic avenues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3906
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2023


  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins/metabolism
  • Blood Platelets/metabolism
  • Cell Membrane/metabolism
  • Collagen/metabolism
  • Membrane Microdomains/metabolism

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