J Thromb Haemost 2003 Mar;1(3):456-63
Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Mutations responsible for mild/moderate hemophilia A were extensively characterized over the last 15 years and more than 200 mutations have been identified. However, most of the molecular mechanisms responsible for the reduced factor (F)VIII levels in patients' plasma were determined only recently. Recent progresses in the study of the FVIII molecule three-dimensional structure provided a major insight for understanding molecular events leading to mild/moderate hemophilia A. This allowed prediction of mutations impairing FVIII folding and intracellular processing, which result in reduced FVIII secretion. Mutations potentially slowing down FVIII activation by thrombin were also identified. A number of mutations were also predicted to result in altered stability of activated FVIII. Biochemical analyses allowed identification of mutations reducing FVIII production. Mutations impairing FVIII stability in plasma, by reducing FVIII binding to von Willebrand factor (VWF) were also characterized. Defects in FVIII activity, notably slow activation by thrombin, or abnormal interaction with FIXa, were also recently demonstrated. Biochemical analysis of FVIII variants provided information regarding the structure/function relationship of the FVIII molecule and validated predictions of the three-dimensional structure of the molecule. These observations also contributed to explain the discrepant activities recorded for some FVIII variants using different types of FVIII assays. Altogether, the study of the biochemical properties of FVIII variants and the evaluation of the effects of mutations in three-dimensional models of FVIII identified molecular mechanisms potentially explaining reduced FVIII levels for a majority of patients with mild/moderate hemophilia A. It is expected that these studies will improve diagnosis and treatment of this disease.