Platelet-derived VWF-cleaving metalloprotease ADAMTS-13


Jing-Fei Dong, Department of Medicine, Thrombosis Research Section, BCM286, N1319, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
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Summary.  The adhesion ligand von Willebrand factor (VWF) is synthesized and stored in vascular endothelial cells and megakaryocytes/platelets. As in endothelial cells, platelet VWF also contains ultra-large (UL) multimers that are hyperactive in aggregating platelets. ULVWF in platelet lysates of thrombin-stimulated platelets was only detected in the presence of EDTA, suggesting that ULVWF is cleaved by a divalent cation-dependent protease. A recent study shows that platelets contain the VWF-cleaving metalloprotease ADAMTS-13, but its activity remains unknown. In this study, we show that platelet lysates cleave endothelial cell-derived ULVWF under static and flow conditions. This activity is inhibited by EDTA and by an ADAMTS-13 antibody from the plasma of a patient with acquired TTP. ADAMTS-13 was detected in platelet lysates and on the platelet surface by four antibodies that bind to different domains of the metalloprotease. Expression of ADAMTS-13 on the platelet surface increases significantly upon platelet activation by the thrombin receptor-activating peptide, but not by ADP. These results demonstrate that platelets contain functionally active ADAMTS-13. This intrinsic activity may be physiologically important to prevent the sudden release of hyperactive ULVWF from platelets and serves as the second pool of ADAMTS-13 to encounter the increase in ULVWF release from endothelial cells.