The unfolded von Willebrand factor response in bloodstream: the self-association perspective
- Equal contributors
1 Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, P R China
2 Key Laboratory of Molecular Immunology and Antibody Engineering of Guangdong Province, Antibody Engineering Center in Jinan University, Guangzhou, P R China
3 Sun Yat-sen Institute of Hematology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, P R China
Journal of Hematology & Oncology 2012, 5:65 doi:10.1186/1756-8722-5-65Published: 15 October 2012
von Willebrand factor (vWF) is a multimeric glycoprotein essential for hemostasis after vascular injury, which modulates platelet-surface and platelet–platelet interactions by linking platelet receptors to the extracellular matrix and to each other. The crucial role of vWF in platelet function is particularly apparent when hemodynamic conditions create blood flow with high shear stress. Through multiple functional domains, vWF mediates the attachment of platelets to exposed tissues, where immobilized vWF is able to support a homotypic and/or heterotypic self-association. The self-association of vWF is also supported by a rapidly expanding reservoir of novel evidences that the thiol/disulfide exchange regulates vWF multimer size in the blood circulation. Moreover, in addition to proteolysis and reduction of ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with a thrombospondin type 1 motif, member 13), the regulation of vWF multimer size and self-association may depend on a disulfide bond reductase activity ascribed to thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1). Along with the classical signaling pathways in activated platelets, evidence is emerging that lipid rafts also play important roles in various phases of hemostasis and thrombosis and facilitate the interaction between the key signaling molecules. Developments in these areas will refine our understanding of the role played by vWF self-association in physiological hemostasis and pathological thrombosis.