• Factor (F)XIII-A increases FXIII-B levels in plasma, but FXIII-A does not induce de novo FXIII-B synthesis or release from hepatocytes.

  • The FXIII-A and FXIII-B subunits exhibit reciprocal stabilization in plasma.

Transglutaminase factor (F)XIII is essential for hemostasis, wound healing, and pregnancy maintenance. Plasma FXIII is composed of A and B subunit dimers synthesized in cells of hematopoietic origin and hepatocytes, respectively. The subunits associate tightly in circulation as FXIII-A2B2. FXIII-B2 stabilizes the (pro)active site-containing FXIII-A subunits. Interestingly, people with genetic FXIII-A deficiency have decreased FXIII-B2, and therapeutic infusion of recombinant FXIII-A2 (rFXIII-A2) increases FXIII-B2, suggesting FXIII-A regulates FXIII-B secretion, production, and/or clearance. We analyzed humans (https://clinicaltrials.gov; NCT00978380) and mice with genetic FXIII-A deficiency and developed a mouse model of rFXIII-A2 infusion to define mechanisms mediating plasma FXIII-B levels. Like FXIII-A-deficient humans, mice with genetic FXIII-A deficiency had reduced circulating FXIII-B2, and infusion of FXIII-A2 increased FXIII-B2. FXIII-A-deficient mice had normal hepatic function and did not store FXIII-B in liver, indicating FXIII-A does not mediate FXIII-B secretion. Transcriptional analysis and polysome profiling indicated similar F13b levels and ribosome occupancy in FXIII-A-sufficient and -deficient mice and in FXIII-A-deficient mice infused with rFXIII-A2, indicating FXIII-A does not induce de novo FXIII-B synthesis. Unexpectedly, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling of FXIII-B antigen following rFXIII-A2 infusion in humans and mice suggested FXIII-A2 slows FXIII-B2 loss from plasma. Accordingly, comparison of free FXIII-B2 versus FXIII-A2-complexed FXIII-B2 (FXIII-A2B2) infused into mice revealed faster clearance of free FXIII-B2. These data show FXIII-A2 prevents FXIII-B2 loss from circulation and establish the mechanism underlying FXIII-B2 behavior in FXIII-A deficiency and during rFXIII-A2 therapy. Our findings reveal a unique, reciprocal relationship between independently synthesized subunits that mediate an essential hemostatic protein in circulation. NCT00978380;

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