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Mol Cell Biol. 1989 Mar;9(3):1233-42.

Effect of von Willebrand factor coexpression on the synthesis and secretion of factor VIII in Chinese hamster ovary cells.

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  • 1Genetics Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140.


In plasma, antihemophilic factor (factor VIII) exists as a 200-kilodalton heavy-chain polypeptide in a metal ion association with an 80-kilodalton light-chain polypeptide. This complex is bound by hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions to a large multimeric glycoprotein, von Willebrand factor (vWF). Accumulation of secreted human factor VIII activity expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells requires the addition of serum in the growth medium, which provides vWF. Here we report that coexpression of vWF with factor VIII in Chinese hamster ovary cells resulted in increased stable accumulation of factor VIII activity in the absence of serum in the growth medium. In the coexpressing cells, the vWF cDNA transcription unit was transcribed to yield mRNA which was efficiently translated. vWF was properly processed and secreted to yield disulfide-bonded high-molecular-weight multimers similar to those observed in vWF secreted from human endothelial cells. Nuclear run-on assays showed that the factor VIII gene was transcribed at a level similar to that of the vWF gene, but the mRNA did not accumulate to high levels in the cytoplasm. In addition, although the translation efficiency of the factor VIII mRNA was similar to that of vWF, the processing and secretion of the factor VIII primary translation product was dramatically reduced compared with vWF. These results demonstrate that in Chinese hamster ovary cells both factor VIII mRNA accumulation and the processing and secretion of the primary factor VIII translation product are inefficient processes.

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