A protein S deficient family presenting a variant protein S molecule in plasma and platelets is described. The propositus, age 20, and two brothers suffered from venous thrombotic disease. The propositus, the only family member studied while taking oral anticoagulants, had a protein S antigen (ag) level of 17% and undetectable activity. As demonstrated by immunoblotting both the propositus and one clinically affected brother (42% ag, 7% activity) presented variant protein S molecules of 65,000 molecular weight (mol wt) while the other clinically affected brother (64% ag, 11% activity) had only protein S with normal electrophoretic mobility of 70,000 mol wt. The mother had normal protein S levels (93% ag, 100% activity) but had both normal and variant protein S molecules and based on her functional protein S data a normal anticoagulant activity of the variant molecule is suggested. One asymptomatic but protein S deficient sister (68% ag, 9% activity) as well as the asymptomatic protein S deficient father (59% ag, 10% activity) had only protein S molecules of 70,000 mol wt. The variant protein S bound to C4b-binding protein in plasma, and differed from normal protein S in carbohydrate content. Platelets of each family member contained the same immunoblotting pattern of normal and variant protein S forms as found in plasma, consistent with the hypothesis that protein S gene expression involves codominant expression of two alleles that is similar in cells that control the synthesis of both platelet and plasma forms of protein S.

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