von Willebrand factor propeptide variants lead to impaired storage and ER retention in patient‐derived endothelial colony‐forming cells Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: von Willebrand factor (VWF) is synthesized by vascular endothelial cells and megakaryocytes. The VWF propeptide is critical for multimerization and acts as an intra-molecular chaperone for mature VWF in sorting to its storage organelles, Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs). In the Canadian Type 3 VWD study, almost half of the identified variants were in the VWF propeptide and these were associated with an increased bleeding phenotype. OBJECTIVE: To investigate VWF propeptide variants that cause quantitative von Willebrand disease (VWD) by utilizing patient-derived endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs). PATIENTS/METHODS: Endothelial colony-forming cells were isolated from five Type 3 VWD patients from four families with the following variants: (1) homozygous p.Asp75_Gly178del (deletion of exons 4 and 5 deletion; Ex4-5del), (2) homozygous p.Cys633Arg, (3) homozygous p.Arg273Trp, and (4) p.Pro293Glnfs*164 and p.Gln419* inherited in the compound heterozygous state. Additionally, ECFCs were isolated from six family members (two Type 1 VWD, four unaffected). RESULTS: Endothelial colony-forming cells from the Type 3 patient with the compound heterozygous genotype exhibited a true null VWF cellular phenotype, with negligible VWF detected. In contrast, the other three propeptide variants presented a similar expression pattern in homozygous ECFCs where VWF was synthesized but not packaged in WPBs, and variant VWF had an increased association with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) marker, protein disulfide-isomerase (PDI), indicating an ER-retention phenotype. The biosynthetic phenotype was similar but to a lesser degree in heterozygous ECFCs expressing the non-null variants. CONCLUSION: This study further elucidates the importance of the VWF propeptide in the VWD phenotype using patient-derived cells.


  • Bowman, Mackenzie
  • Casey, Lara
  • Selvam, Soundarya N
  • Lima, Patricia DA
  • Rawley, Orla
  • Hinds, Megan
  • Tuttle, Angie
  • Grabell, Julie
  • Iorio, Alfonso
  • Walker, Irwin Ronald
  • Lillicrap, David
  • James, Paula

publication date

  • July 2022