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J Biol Chem. 2009 Apr 24;284(17):11080-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M900234200. Epub 2009 Feb 24.

Cleavage at Arg-1689 influences heavy chain cleavages during thrombin-catalyzed activation of factor VIII.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


The procofactor, factor VIII, is activated by thrombin or factor Xa-catalyzed cleavage at three P1 residues: Arg-372, Arg-740, and Arg-1689. The catalytic efficiency for thrombin cleavage at Arg-740 is greater than at either Arg-1689 or Arg-372 and influences reaction rates at these sites. Because cleavage at Arg-372 appears rate-limiting and dependent upon initial cleavage at Arg-740, we investigated whether cleavage at Arg-1689 influences catalysis at this step. Recombinant B-domainless factor VIII mutants, R1689H and R1689Q were prepared and stably expressed to slow and eliminate cleavage, respectively. Specific activity values for the His and Gln mutations were approximately 50 and approximately 10%, respectively, that of wild type. Thrombin activation of the R1689H variant showed an approximately 340-fold reduction in the rate of Arg-1689 cleavage, whereas the R1689Q variant was resistant to thrombin cleavage at this site. Examination of heavy chain cleavages showed approximately 4- and 11-fold reductions in A2 subunit generation and approximately 3- and 7-fold reductions in A1 subunit generation for the R1689H and R1689Q mutants, respectively. These results suggest a linkage between light chain cleavage and cleavages in heavy chain. Results obtained evaluating proteolysis of the factor VIII mutants by factor Xa revealed modest rate reductions (<5-fold) in generating A2 and A1 subunits and in cleaving light chain at Arg-1721 from either variant, suggesting little dependence upon prior cleavage at residue 1689 as compared with thrombin. Overall, these results are consistent with a competition between heavy and light chains for thrombin exosite binding and subsequent proteolysis with binding of the former chain preferred.

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