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Haematologica. 2018 Feb;103(2):344-350. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2017.178327. Epub 2017 Nov 23.

Clustered F8 missense mutations cause hemophilia A by combined alteration of splicing and protein biosynthesis and activity.

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Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara, Italy.
Human Molecular Genetics, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Trieste, Italy.
School of Bioscience & Medicine, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK.
Angelo Bianchi Bonomi Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico and Fondazione Luigi Villa, Milan, Italy.
Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, University of Milan, Italy.
Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara, Italy
Laboratorio per le Tecnologie delle Terapie Avanzate, University of Ferrara, Italy.


Dissection of pleiotropic effects of missense mutations, rarely investigated in inherited diseases, is fundamental to understanding genotype-phenotype relationships. Missense mutations might impair mRNA processing in addition to protein properties. As a model for hemophilia A, we investigated the highly prevalent F8 c.6046c>t/p.R2016W (exon 19) mutation. In expression studies exploiting lentiviral vectors, we demonstrated that the amino acid change impairs both Factor VIII (FVIII) secretion (antigen 11.0±0.4% of wild-type) and activity (6.0±2.9%). Investigations in patients' ectopic F8 mRNA and with minigenes showed that the corresponding nucleotide change also decreases correct splicing to 70±5%, which is predicted to lower further FVIII activity (4.2±2%), consistently with patients' levels (<1-5%). Masking the mutated exon 19 region by antisense U7snRNA supported the presence of a splicing regulatory element, potentially affected by several missense mutations causing hemophilia A. Among these, the c.6037g>a (p.G2013R) reduced exon inclusion to 41±3% and the c.6053a>g (p.E2018G) to 28±2%, similarly to a variant affecting the 5' splice site (c.6113a>g, p.N2038S, 26±2%), which displayed normal protein features upon recombinant expression. The p.G2013R reduced both antigen (7.0±0.9%) and activity (8.4±0.8%), while the p.E2018G produced a dysfunctional molecule (antigen: 69.0±18.1%; activity: 19.4±2.3%). In conclusion, differentially altered mRNA and protein patterns produce a gradient of residual activity, and clarify genotype-phenotype relationships. Data detail pathogenic mechanisms that, only in combination, account for moderate/severe disease forms, which in turn determine the mutation profile. Taken together we provide a clear example of interplay between mRNA and protein mechanisms of disease that operate in shaping many other inherited disorders.

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