Glycoprotein (GP) V is a major substrate cleaved by the protease thrombin during thrombin-induced platelet activation. Previous analysis of platelets from GP V-null mice suggested a role for GP V as a negative modulator of platelet activation by thrombin. We now report the mechanism by which thrombin activates GP V −/− platelets. We show that proteolytically inactive forms of thrombin induce robust stimulatory responses in GP V null mouse platelets, via the platelet GP Ib–IX–V complex. Because proteolytically inactive thrombin can activate wild-type mouse and human platelets after treatment with thrombin to cleave GP V, this mechanism is involved in thrombin-induced platelet aggregation. Platelet activation through GP Ib–IX depends on ADP secretion, and specific inhibitors demonstrate that the recently cloned P2Y 12 ADP receptor (G i -coupled ADP receptor) is involved in this pathway, and that the P2Y 1 receptor (G q -coupled ADP receptor) may play a less significant role. Thrombosis was generated in GP V null mice only in response to catalytically inactive thrombin, whereas thrombosis occurred in both genotypes (wild type and GP V null) in response to active thrombin. These data support a thrombin receptor function for the platelet membrane GP Ib–IX–V complex, and describe a novel thrombin signaling mechanism involving an initiating proteolytic event followed by stimulation of the GP Ib–IX via thrombin acting as a ligand, resulting in platelet activation.