Four novel mutations in deficiency of coagulation factor XIII: Consequences to expression and structure of the A-subunit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The characterization of naturally occurring mutations is one way to approach functionally significant domains of polypeptides. About 10 mutations have been reported in factor XIII (FXIII) A-subunit deficiency, but very little is known about the effects of the mutations on the expression or the structure of this enzyme. In this study, the recent crystallization of FXIII A-subunit and determination of the three-dimensional model were used for the first time to pursue the structural consequences of mutations in the A- subunit. The molecular analysis of four families from Sweden, Germany, and Denmark revealed four previously unreported point mutations. Three of the mutations were missense mutations, Arg326 → Gln, Arg252 → Ile, and Leu498 → Pro, and one was a nonsense mutation, a deletion of thymidine in codon for Phe8 resulting in early frameshift and premature termination of the polypeptide chain. In the case of the nonsense mutation, delT Phe8, the steady-state mRNA level of FXIII A-subunit was reduced, as quantitated by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and solid-phase minisequencing. In contrast, none of the missense mutations affected mRNA levels, indicating the possible translation of the mutant polypeptides. However, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent analysis and immunofluorescence, all the patients demonstrated a complete lack of detectable factor XIIIA antigen in their platelets. In the structural analysis, we included the mutations described in this work and the Met242 → Thr mutation reported earlier by us. Interestingly, in the three-dimensional model, all four missense mutations are localized in the evolutionarily conserved catalytic core domain. The substitutions are at least 15 Å away from the catalytic cleft and do not affect any of the residues known to be directly involved in the enzymetic reaction. The structural analyses suggest that the mutations are most likely interfering with proper folding and stability of the protein, which is in agreement with the observed absence of detectable FXIIIA antigen. Arg326, Arg252, and Met242 are all buried within the molecule. The Arg326 → Gln and Arg252 → Ile mutations are substitutions of smaller, neutral amino acids for large, charged residues. They disrupt the electrostatic balance and hydrogen- bonding interactions in structurally significant areas. The Met242 → Thr mutation is located in the same region of the core domain as the Arg252 → Ile site and is expected to have a destabilizing effect due to an introduction of a smaller, polar residue in a tightly packed hydrophobic pocket. The substitution of proline for Leu498 is predicted to cause unfavorable interatomic contacts and a disruption of the alpha-helix mainchain hydrogen-bonding pattern; it is likely to form a kink in the helix next to the dimer interface and is expected to impair proper dimerization of the A-subunits. In the case of all four missense mutations studied, the knowledge achieved from the three-dimensional model of crystallized FXIII A- subunit provides essential information about the structural significance of the specific residues and aids in understanding the biologic consequences of the mutations observed at the cellular level.


  • Hanna Mikkola
  • Vivien C. Yee
  • Martti Syrjälä
  • Rainer Seitz
  • Rudolf Egbring
  • Pia Petrini
  • Rolf Ljung
  • Jorgen Ingerslev
  • David C. Teller
  • Aarno Palotie
External organisations
  • University of Helsinki
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Other Clinical Medicine


  • arginine, blood clotting factor 13a, glutamine, isoleucine, leucine, messenger RNA, methionine, proline, adolescent, adult, alpha chain, article, blood clotting factor 13 deficiency, child, clinical article, clinical protocol, codon, Denmark, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, family study, female, frameshift mutation, gene expression, genetic analysis, Germany, human, hydrogen bond, immunofluorescence, male, missense mutation, mutation, nonsense mutation, point mutation, priority journal, protein folding, protein stability, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-151
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch