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Keywords:

  • endothelial cells;
  • exocytosis;
  • hemostasis;
  • Rab GTPase;
  • von Willebrand factor;
  • Weibel–Palade bodies

Summary

von Willebrand factor (VWF) plays key roles in both primary and secondary hemostasis by capturing platelets and chaperoning clotting factor VIII, respectively. It is stored within the Weibel–Palade bodies (WPBs) of endothelial cells as a highly prothrombotic protein, and its release is thus necessarily under tight control. Regulating the secretion of VWF involves multiple layers of cellular machinery that act together at different stages, leading to the exocytic fusion of WPBs with the plasma membrane and the consequent release of VWF. This review aims to provide a snapshot of the current understanding of those components, in particular the members of the Rab family, acting in the increasingly complex story of VWF secretion.