We previously reported a functional defect of von Willebrand factor (vWF) in a new variant of von Willebrand disease (vWD) tentatively named vWD “Normandy.” The present work has attempted to characterize the molecular abnormality of this vWF that fails to bind factor VIII (FVIII). The immunopurified vWF from normal and patient's plasma were digested by trypsin and the resulting peptides were compared. The electrophoresis of ““vWF Normandy” showed a shift in the band corresponding to a polypeptide from amino acid 1 to 272. Consequently, we performed the molecular analysis of the portion of the vWF gene of this patient encoding this amino acid sequence. Exons 18–24 were amplified by the use of polymerase chain reaction and their nucleotide sequences corresponding to 1.8 kb were determined. Our analysis showed a point mutation C to T at codon 791, resulting in the substitution of Methionine for Threonine at position 28 of the mature vWF subunit. Because this nucleotide substitution destroyed a Mae II restriction site, this mutation was conveniently sought in various individual DNAs. The patterns obtained were consistent with the homozygous and heterozygous state of this mutation in the patient and in her son, respectively, and with its absence in 28 normal individuals. We conclude that Threonine at position 28 in plasma vWF may be crucial for the conformation and FVIII-binding capacity of its cystine-rich N- terminal domain.

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