An abnormal von Willebrand factor (vWF) gene restriction pattern has been found in a patient with von Willebrand disease. Because this gene alteration is not present in his parents or in 50 normal and 25 affected subjects, and the restriction fragment length polymorphism haplotypes are inherited normally in the patient's family, we suggest that a de novo mutation is present. Bands with reduced intensity and additional fragments, observed in several restriction digests, hybridize with noncontiguous copy DNA (cDNA) portions, thus indicating the presence of a heterozygous gene deletion. The deletion removes a genomic region containing at least codons 1147 through 1854 and corresponding to the D3-A3 homologous protein domains. The extent of the vWF pseudogene on chromosome 22 is roughly similar to that of the deleted area. However, the pseudogenic nature of the deletion is excluded by the mapping of bands with reduced intensity in the patient to the true vWF gene. The vWF antigen levels are one fourth of normal and ristocetin cofactor activity is severely impaired. The reduction of high molecular weight multimers in plasma and platelets and the altered triplet morphology are compatible with the presence of a dominant variant of type II von Willebrand disease.

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