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Blood. 2002 Aug 1;100(3):743-54.

Role of factor XIII in fibrin clot formation and effects of genetic polymorphisms.

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  • 1Academic Unit of Molecular Vascular Medicine, University of Leeds School of Medicine, United Kingdom.


Factor XIII and fibrinogen are unusual among clotting factors in that neither is a serine protease. Fibrin is the main protein constituent of the blood clot, which is stabilized by factor XIIIa through an amide or isopeptide bond that ligates adjacent fibrin monomers. Many of the structural and functional features of factor XIII and fibrin(ogen) have been elucidated by protein and gene analysis, site-directed mutagenesis, and x-ray crystallography. However, some of the molecular aspects involved in the complex processes of insoluble fibrin formation in vivo and in vitro remain unresolved. The findings of a relationship between fibrinogen, factor XIII, and cardiovascular or other thrombotic disorders have focused much attention on these 2 proteins. Of particular interest are associations between common variations in the genes of factor XIII and altered risk profiles for thrombosis. Although there is much debate regarding these observations, the implications for our understanding of clot formation and therapeutic intervention may be of major importance. In this review, we have summarized recent findings on the structure and function of factor XIII. This is followed by a review of the effects of genetic polymorphisms on protein structure/function and their relationship to disease.

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