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J Biol Chem. 1983 Nov 10;258(21):12757-60.

Subunit composition of oligomeric human von Willebrand factor.


The oligomerization of human endothelial cell-synthesized von Willebrand factor (vWf) has been studied by gel chromatography in columns of Sephacryl S-500 and by discontinuous agarose gel electrophoresis. A quantitative recovery of high Mr vWf oligomers has been obtained after binding to a monoclonal anti-vWf-Sepharose adduct. This reagent has been used to analyze gel filtration chromatographic elution profiles of [35S]methionine-labeled culture medium and cell lysate. It was determined that high Mr oligomers are present in endothelial cell lysates as well as in the medium overlying these cells and are composed of Mr 225,000 subunits. When vWf oligomers were analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the presence of a reducing agent, the Mr 240,000 subunit (provWf) was not observed to oligomerize beyond the dimer stage to a significant degree. Therefore, vWf oligomerization appears to be facilitated by conversion of provWf subunits to mature vWf subunits, most likely by proteolytic removal of sequences unique to the intracellular precursor.

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