Multimeric glycoprotein von Willebrand factor (VWF) exhibits a unique triplet structure of individual oligomers, resulting from ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin type 1 motifs 13) cleavage. The faster and slower migrating triplet bands of a given VWF multimer respectively have one shorter or longer N-terminal peptide sequence. Within this peptide sequence, the A1 domain regulates interaction of VWF with platelet glycoprotein (GP)Ib. Distribution of VWF triplet bands is significantly altered in some types of VWD, however, the impact of triplet structure on VWF function has not been investigated so far.
Platelet-adhesive properties of two VWF preparations with similar multimeric distribution but different triplet composition obtained by size exclusion in addition to heparin affinity chromatography were investigated for differential functional activities. Preparation A was enriched in intermediate triplet bands, while preparation B predominantly contained larger triplet bands. Collagen- and GPIb-binding was determined by surface plasmon resonance (SPR). Platelet adhesion under flow was determined using flow-chamber models.
Binding studies revealed that preparation A displayed a reduced affinity for recombinant GPIb, but an unchanged affinity for collagen type III, when compared to preparation B. Under high-shear flow conditions, preparation A was less active in recruiting platelets to collagen type III. Furthermore, when added to blood from patients with von Willebrand disease (VWD), defective thrombus formation was less restored.
Thus, VWF forms lacking larger size triplet bands appear to have a decreased potential to recruit platelets to collagen-bound VWF under arterial flow conditions. By implication, changes in triplet band distribution observed in patients with VWD may result in altered platelet adhesion at high-shear flow.
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