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Blood. 2000 Aug 1;96(3):988-95.

The factor XIII V34L polymorphism accelerates thrombin activation of factor XIII and affects cross-linked fibrin structure.

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Unit of Molecular Vascular Medicine, University of Leeds School of Medicine, UK.


Factor XIII on activation by thrombin cross-links fibrin. A common polymorphism Val to Leu at position 34 in the FXIII A subunit is under investigation as a risk determinant of thrombosis. Because Val34Leu is close to the thrombin cleavage site, the hypothesis that it would alter the function of FXIII was tested. Analysis of FXIII subunit proteolysis by thrombin using sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and high-performance liquid chromatography showed that FXIII 34Leu was cleaved by thrombin more rapidly and by lower doses than 34Val. Mass spectrometry of isolated activation peptides confirmed the predicted single methyl group difference and demonstrated that the thrombin cleavage site is unaltered by Val34Leu. Kinetic analysis of activation peptide release demonstrated that the catalytic efficiency (k(cat)/K(m)) of thrombin was 0.5 for FXIII 34Leu and 0.2 (micromol/L)(-1) x sec(-1) for 34Val. Presence of fibrin increased the catalytic efficiency to 4.8 and 2.2 (micromol/L)(-1) x sec(-1), respectively. Although the 34Leu peptide was released at a similar rate as fibrinopeptide A, the 34Val peptide was released more slowly than fibrinopeptide A but more quickly than fibrinopeptide B generation. Cross-linking of gamma- and alpha-chains appeared earlier when fibrin was incubated with FXIII 34Leu than with 34Val. Fully activated 34Leu and 34Val FXIII showed similar cross-linking activity. Analysis of fibrin clots prepared using plasma from FXIII 34Leu subjects by turbidity and permeability measurements showed reduced fiber mass/length ratio and porosity compared to 34Val. The structural differences were confirmed by electron microscopy. These results demonstrate that Val34Leu accelerates activation of FXIII by thrombin and consequently affects the structure of the cross-linked fibrin clot.

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