J Clin Invest 1998 Feb;101(3):613-24
Blood Research Institute, The Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-2178, USA.
In plasma, von Willebrand factor (vWf) associates with Factor VIII (FVIII); however, the site at which these proteins first interact has not been defined. Administration of 1-desamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin (DDAVP) causes a rapid, concomitant elevation in plasma levels of both vWf and FVIII, suggesting the existence of a DDAVP-releasable storage pool for both proteins. To determine whether vWf and FVIII can associate intracellularly and colocalize to storage vesicles, we transfected AtT-20 cells with vWf and FVIII expression plasmids. FVIII alone was not detectable within storage granules; however, transfection of vWf cDNA into the same cell caused FVIII to alter its intracellular trafficking and to undergo granular storage, colocalizing to the vWf-containing granules. In contrast, colocalization of FVIII was not observed when these cells were transfected with plasmids encoding defective FVIII-binding vWf mutants. Transfection of bovine endothelial cells with FVIII further demonstrated vesicular storage of FVIII with vWf in Weibel-Palade bodies. Since gene therapy of hemophilia A may ultimately target endothelium or hematopoietic stem cells, the interaction between vWf and FVIII within a secretory cell is important. Thus, vWf can alter the intracellular trafficking of FVIII from a constitutive to a regulated secretory pathway, thereby producing an intracellular storage pool of both proteins.