Chapter 105 

Structure, Biology, and Genetics of Factor VIII

Randall J. Kaufman and Stylianos E. Antonarakis


Hemophilia A, a bleeding disorder resulting from a deficiency in factor
VIII, was documented >1,700 years ago in the Talmud. MLID69190620  1 The
genetics of hemophilia A were described during the early 1800s, 2 and
transfusion of whole blood was shown to treat a hemophilia-associated
bleeding episode successfully by 1840. 3 The presence of factor VIII in
plasma was demonstrated in 1911, 4 and in 1937 Patek and Taylor 5
described its role in hemostasis. However, a detailed structural
characterization of the factor VIII gene and protein product was only
recently achieved.

Since Hemophilia A and von Willebrand disease are both associated with
factor VIII deficiency, their relationship was confused for many years.
Early preparations of antihemophilic factor were demonstrated not only
to correct the clotting time of hemophilic plasma, but also to restore
platelet adhesion and agglutination defects in the plasma from patients
with von Willebrand disease. Over the last decade it has been
demonstrated that factor VIII and von Willebrand factor (vWF) are two
separate proteins that exist as a complex in plasma and that are under
separate genetic control. These proteins have distinct biochemical and
immunologic properties, as well as unique and essential physiologic
functions. Factor VIII is an X-linked gene product that accelerates the
activation of factor X by factor IXa in the presence of calcium and
phospholipid. vWF is an autosomal gene product that is essential for
platelet adhesion to subendothelium and for ristocetin-induced platelet
agglutination. Since vWF and factor VIII are found in the plasma as a
complex and vWF serves to stabilize factor VIII and regulate its
activity, the activities of these two proteins are intimately
intertwined. Based on a greater understanding of factor VIII and vWF, in
1985 the Subcommittee on factor VIII and vWF of the International
Committee on Thrombosis and Haemostasis formulated nomenclature
guidelines MLID86123641  6: factor VIII protein is designated VIII;
factor VIII antigen is designated VIII:Ag; factor VIII procoagulant
activity is designated VIII:C; von Willebrand factor is designated vWF;
and von Willebrand factor antigen is designated vWF:Ag.

Factor VIII Function

The physiologic response to blood vessel injury is the sequential
activation of plasma proteases of the blood coagulation cascade, leading
to the localized generation of thrombin and the conversion of fibrinogen
to fibrin (see Ch. 100). Thrombin generation requires the interaction of
proteases, protein cofactors, and substrate zymogens that assemble on a
phospholipid surface or the cell surface. Factor VIII is proteolytically
activated by factor Xa or thrombin, or both, to yield factor VIIIa,
which serves as a cofactor for factor IXa-mediated activation of factor

The mechanism by which factor VIIIa functions in the factor
Xa-generating complex is poorly understood. Factor VIII has no enzymatic
activity of its own but acts as a cofactor to increase the Vmax of
factor X activation by factor IXa by 10,000-fold in the presence of
negatively charged phospholipids and calcium. MLID81142359  7 The
mechanism by which factor VIIIa accelerates the proteolysis of factor X
by factor IXa likely involves the interaction of factor VIIIa and factor
IXa on a phospholipid surface to facilitate a conformational change in
the enzyme that favors catalysis. MLID92381008  8

The reported specific activity of pure factor VIII ranges from 2,300
U/mg MLID82174657  9 to 8,000 U/mg. MLID87000647  10 The definition of
factor VIII activity is complicated, since thrombin converts the
cofactor into a much more active form. However, for standardization, 1 U
of factor VIII is defined as that amount of activity in 1 ml of normal
pooled human plasma measured in a factor VIII assay using factor
VIII-deficient plasma. 11 For greater convenience and precision, factor
VIII activity can be measured by its ability to promote activation of
factor X in the presence of factor IXa, phospholipid, and Ca2+. Factor
Xa is measured directly by monitoring cleavage of a synthetic
chromogenic substrate. MLID77151595  12 Factor VIII antigen can be
measured using factor VIII-specific antibodies in specific immunoassays.
MLID88183964  13

Characterization of factor VIII has been hampered by its low
concentration in plasma, its heterogeneity in size, and its exquisite
sensitivity to degradation. Recent advances in our understanding of
factor VIII resulted from the use of immunoaffinity chromatography for
the successful purification of factor VIII from porcine MLID82135730  14
and human plasma, MLID82174657  9,15 and from the cloning of the human
factor VIII gene and elucidation of the primary structure of factor
VIII. MLID85061549 MLID85061548 MLID85061550  1618

Factor VIII Structure

The deduced primary amino acid sequence of human factor VIII determined
from the cloned cDNA demonstrated that factor VIII is encoded by a
precursor protein of 2,351 amino acid residues from which a
19-amino-acid signal peptide is cleaved. Plasma factor VIII is a
heterodimer processed from a larger precursor polypeptide. It consists
of a COOH-terminal-derived light chain of 80,000 MW in a metal
ion-dependent association with an NH2-terminal-derived heavy chain
fragment of 90,000200,000 MW. MLID85061549 MLID85061550  16,18 In the
plasma this complex is stabilized by association through hydrophilic and
hydrophobic interactions with a 50-fold excess of vWF. The amino acid
sequence revealed an organization of three structural domains that occur
in the order A1:A2:B:A3:C1:C2, as shown in Figure 105-1.  MLID85061549
MLID85061550 16,18 The A1 (amino acid residues 1329) and A2 (380711)
domains of factor VIII are located in the heavy chain and the A3
(1,6492,019) domain is located in the light chain. The A domains have
30% homology to each other, to the triplicated A domains of
ceruloplasmin and factor V. MLID85061549 MLID87260886 MLID86259737 
16,19,20 The residues implicated for copper binding in ceruloplasmin are
conserved in the first and third A domains of factor VIII, suggesting
that the A domains of factor VIII may be involved in metal ion binding.
However, these residues are not conserved in the A domains of factor V,
although copper ions were detected in purified preparations of factor V
MLID85030396  21 and factor VIII. 22 The C1 (residues 2,0202,172) and
C2 (residues 2,1732,332) domains are located in the terminus of the
factor VIII light chain and exhibit homology to milk fat globule protein
and to A, C, and D chains of discoidin 1, which are all capable of
binding glycoconjugates and negatively charged phospholipids.
MLID82170475 MLID91046008  23,24 The B domain is encoded by a single
large exon of 3,100 nucleotides, has no known homology to other
proteins, and contains 18 of the 25 potential asparagine (N)-linked
glycosylation sites within factor VIII. The cloning of the factor V cDNA
and gene revealed a high degree of amino acid conservation between the A
and C domains with no detectable homology within the B domains,
MLID87260886  19 although both B domains are encoded by large single
exons. The domain organization and homologies between factors V and VIII
suggest that these genes evolved from a primordial ferroxidase gene by
triplication of the A domain, insertion of the B domain, and addition of
the two C domains. After duplication of the primordial cofactor gene,
the factor V and factor VIII genes likely evolved by extensive
divergence of amino acid residues within the B domain, while amino acid
residues within the A and C domains were conserved.

In addition to the A, B, and C domains, there are three acidic amino
acid-rich regions in the factor VIII protein molecule at the junction of
the A1/A2 (residues 331372), A2/B (residues 700740), and B/A3
(residues 1,6491,689) domains that are juxtaposed to sites of thrombin
cleavage (Fig. 105-1). All these acidic regions also contain the
post-translationally modified amino acid tyrosine sulfate at residues
364, 718, 719, 721, 1,664, and 1,680. MLID92207952  25 The murine factor
VIII cDNA is highly homologous to the A and C domains of human factor
VIII, whereas the acidic regions and B domain show partial homology.
MLID93300511  26 However, all thrombin cleavage sites and sulfated
tyrosine residues are conserved. The murine factor VIII B domain also
contains 19 potential N-linked glycosylation sites, although in
different positions than in the human sequence, suggesting that
glycosylation in the B domain is important for factor VIII expression or
function, or for both.

Biosynthesis and Metabolism of Factor VIII

The natural cell type(s) that produces factor VIII has not been
definitively identified. However, evidence obtained from liver
transplantation in factor VIII-deficient dogs MLID69087279 MLID71186448 
27,28 and several hemophiliac patients MLID85163654 MLID87214539  29,30
strongly implies that the liver is a major site of factor VIII
synthesis. In addition, immunochemical localization by light microscopic
MLID84178963  31 or electron microscopic MLID86040432  32 examination
detected the factor VIII antigen in hepatocytes. However, RNA
hybridization analysis has detected factor VIII mRNA in hepatocytes and
in many other cells and tissues. MLID86040431  33 To date there are no
known established cell lines that express factor VIII. Thus, it has not
been possible to study the biosynthesis of factor VIII in its natural
host cell. However, the expression of factor VIII in mammalian cells
transfected with the factor VIII gene allowed analysis of the
biosynthesis and processing of this glycoprotein. MLID88198183  34

Analysis of the expression of factor VIII in Chinese hamster ovary cells
provided insights into its probable biosynthetic pathway (Fig. 105-2).
On synthesis, factor VIII is translocated into the lumen of the
endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where the signal peptide is cleaved. In the
ER, addition of high-mannose oligosaccharide to multiple asparagine
residues within the factor VIII molecule occurs. A significant portion
of the factor VIII in the ER is bound to a resident protein of the ER,
the glucose-regulated protein of 78,000 MW (GRP78), also known as
immunoglobulin-binding protein, or BiP. MLID86245075 MLID88087401  35,36
BiP expression is induced by glucose deprivation, inhibition of N-linked
glycosylation, or the presence of malfolded protein within the ER.
MLID88175074  37,38 Increased BiP expression inhibits factor VIII
secretion. MLID92224895  39 BiP exhibits a peptide-dependent ATPase
activity. MLID92049699  40 Dissociation from BiP and secretion of factor
VIII require unusually high levels of intracellular ATP. MLID91017519 
41 It is speculated that either the BiP-mediated ATP-dependent release
assists protein folding or that BiP binding prohibits improperly folded
molecules exiting the ER compartment and directs them to degradation.
The secretion-competent factor VIII transits to the Golgi apparatus. In
the Golgi apparatus, most factor VIII is cleaved at two sites within the
B domain after residues 1,313 and 1,648 to generate the heavy chains
(90,000200,000 MW) and the light chain (80,000 MW). Also within the
Golgi apparatus, factor VIII is further processed by (1) modification of
the asparagine-linked high-mannose-containing oligosaccharides to
complex types, (2) addition of carbohydrate to multiple serine and
threonine residues within the B domain, and (3) addition of sulfate to
six tyrosine residues within the heavy and the light chains.

vWF promotes the association of the light and heavy chains of factor
VIII and results in accumulation of stable factor VIII activity in the
conditioned medium of factor VIII-producing cells. MLID88198183
MLID92042109  34,42 The heavy and light chains of factor VIII
synthesized in the absence of vWF in the conditioned medium are secreted
as dissociated chains that are subsequently degraded. The effect of vWF
in promoting assembly and stable secretion of factor VIII in
cell-culture systems may reflect the role of vWF in regulating levels of
factor VIII activity in vivo. MLID83022933 MLID77207496 MLID86094303 
4347 These findings suggest that the reduction in factor VIII levels
associated with vWF deficiency may result partly from the inability of
factor VIII to be stabilized in the plasma on secretion from the cell.

Factor VIII and vWF are cleared with a half-life of 12 hours on infusion
of the factor VII11/vWF complex into hemophilia patients. MLID83022933 
43,46,47 Infusion of pure factor VIII also exhibits clearance kinetics
similar to that of factor VIII/vWF complex, presumably due to rapid
binding of factor VIII to plasma vWF. MLID77207496 MLID86094303  44,45
By contrast, infusion of pure factor VIII into patients with severe von
Willebrand disease or into severe vWF-deficient dogs results in rapid
clearance (half-life of 2.4 hours). MLID83022933 MLID86094303  43,45
These studies establish the stabilizing influence of vWF for factor VIII
in the circulation. Autosomally inherited factor VIII deficiency results
from genetic defects in vWF that reduce its ability to bind and
stabilize factor VIII in plasma. MLID90001540 MLID92336160  48,49

Interactions of Factor VIII With Components of Hemostasis

Binding to von Willebrand Factor

vWF plays a critical role in regulating factor VIII activity by several
different mechanisms. vWF stabilizes factor VIII on secretion from the
cell MLID88198183 MLID92042109  34,42 and is required for its normal
survival in plasma. MLID83022933 MLID77207496 MLID86094303  4347 vWF
protects factor VIII from activation by factor Xa 50 and from
inactivation by activated protein C MLID89008875 MLID91115828  51,52 but
does not interfere with activation by thrombin. MLID87304256
MLID93271477  53,54 Finally, vWF prevents factor VIII binding to
phospholipids MLID82134732  55,56 and activated platelets. MLID92011498 
57 Based on these functions, it is proposed that vWF binding to platelet
receptor glycoprotein (GP)Ib brings factor VIII to the vicinity of
platelets adhering to damaged endothelium. MLID92011498  57

The interaction of factor VIII with vWF is mediated by a major factor
VIII-binding site that resides within the first 272 amino acids of the
mature vWF molecule. MLID87250449 MLID88025605 MLID89292189  5860
Specific missense mutations within this region of vWF can cause
autosomal hemophilia due to a deficiency in factor VIII. MLID92336160 
49 Most vWF molecules contain one factor VIII-binding site that can be
saturated in vitro. MLID88087045  61 However, the ratio of factor VIII
to vWF observed in vivo is 1:50. MLID77207496  44

The corresponding vWF binding site on factor VIII resides within the NH2
terminus of the light chain of factor VIII. MLID87246689 MLID88273151 
6265 A vWF-binding site on factor VIII was localized by monoclonal
antibody inhibition to residues 1,673 to 1,684. MLID88186813
MLID89193471  66,67 This region is composed of a high density of acidic
amino acids located at the NH2 terminus of the factor VIII light chain
and is removed by thrombin cleavage at residue 1,689 (Fig. 105-1).
Deletion of the acidic region in the NH2 terminus of the light chain by
site-directed mutagenesis yielded a molecule that did not bind vWF with
high affinity, although the purified protein had a specific activity
similar to wild-type factor VIII. MLID92011498  57 These results
demonstrate that the acidic region within residues 1,6491,689 of the
light chain is critical for appropriate interaction with vWF but is not
required for cofactor function of factor VIII. It was recently
demonstrated that antibodies that bind the factor VIII C2 domain can
inhibit binding to vWF and to phosphatidylserine. MLID93227170  68 This
observation is consistent with the presence of a phospholipid-binding
region between residues 2,303 and 2,332 within the C2 domain
MLID90248570  69 and that phospholipid and vWF compete for binding to
factor VIII. MLID82134732  55,56 This finding indicates that although a
primary vWF-binding site resides between residues 1,648 and 1,689,
multiple contacts are probably required to mediate the multitude of
effects that vWF has on factor VIII.

Factor VIII is post-translationally modified by sulfation on tyrosine
residues 346,718,719,721, 1,664, and 1,680. MLID92207952  25 Inhibition
of tyrosine sulfation by treatment of factor VIII-expressing cells with
sodium chlorate did not affect factor VIII secretion but reduced the
specific activity of the factor VIII by fivefold, indicating that this
modification is required for full cofactor activity. MLID92207952  25
The importance of this post-translational modification was also studied
by the conservative mutation of tyrosine residues to phenylalanine
residues in order to block sulfation. Tyrosine to phenylalanine
mutations at residues 346 and 1,664 reduced the rate of thrombin
cleavage and activation. 70 Tyrosine to phenylalanine mutation at
residue 1,680 reduced interaction with vWF by fivefold. MLID91093266 
70,71 In addition, a patient with the 1,680 tyrosine-to-phenylalanine
mutation had a fivefold reduction in factor VIII antigen and activity,
likely due to a defect in vWF binding. MLID90152691  72 These
experiments show that post-translational sulfation of tyrosine residues
affects factor VIII procoagulant activity and interaction with vWF.

Binding to Other Coagulation Factors

Due to the ability of thrombin-activated human factor VIIIa, most
binding studies have been performed with intact factor VIII. Since it is
known that factor VIII activation influences the activity of factor IXa,
MLID92381008  8 it must be considered that changes occur in binding
affinities or sites of interactions (or in both) on factor VIII
activation. Monoclonal antibody inhibition experiments suggest that a
factor IXa-binding site exists between residues 1,770 and 1,840 of the
factor VIII light chain. MLID94171722  73 In addition, factor IXa
inactivates factor VIII by cleavage at residue 336 in the heavy chain
MLID93104509  74,75 and prevents dissociation of the A2-domain
polypeptide from thrombin-activated factor VIII. MLID92156105  76 Factor
IXa protects factor VIII from inactivation by activated protein C,
MLID87126793 MLID85072180  7779 indicating possible common sites of
interaction. In sum, these results suggest that factor IXa interacts
with both the heavy and light chains of factor VIII. Similar
characteristics were identified for the binding of enzyme factor Xa to
factor Va where both the heavy chain MLID85054836 MLID87242916  80,81
and light chain MLID83108837 MLID83169885  82,83 contribute to binding.
There is suggestive evidence that factor X interacts with factor VIII.
MLID80130523 MLID88087235  84,85 However, no studies have localized the
site of binding. Factor Va mediates binding of the substrate prothrombin
via the factor V heavy chain. MLID85054836  80

In the presence of anionic phospholipids and Ca2+, activated protein C
inactivates factors Va and VIIIa. MLID92275243  86 Factor Va is cleaved
by activated protein C after residues 506 and 1,765, although cleavage
after residue 506 is likely responsible for the loss in cofactor
activity. MLID87280215  87 Similarly, activated protein C cleaves factor
VIII and factor VIIIa after multiple residues 336, 562, and 740.
MLID92041838  88 Inactivation is more closely associated with cleavage
after residue 562, the site homologous to residue 506 in factor V.
Binding sites for activated protein C were localized to the light chains
at residues 1,8651,874 in factor Va and 2,0092,010 in factor VIII,
which are both localized to a homologous region in the COOH-terminal end
of the A3-domain. MLID90110208  89

Binding to Phospholipids

Phospholipids interact with substrates, enzymes, and cofactors to play a
critical role in the assembly and functional activity of the coagulation
protease complexes. Negatively charged phospholipids are required for
factor VIIIa-mediated enhancement of the activation of factor X.
MLID81142359 MLID90110140 MLID93069110  7,90,91 In vivo, the negatively
charged phospholipids are likely provided by activated platelets and
damaged endothelial cells. Factors VIII and V bind phosphatidylserine by
both hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions. MLID82108388
MLID83231443 MLID85122693 MLID87157601 MLID87137403 MLID92382588  9298
However, factor V does not efficiently compete with the binding of
factor VIII to phospholipid vesicles composed of 15%
phosphatidyl-L-serine. MLID90110140  90 Under equilibrium conditions,
factor VIII can bind phospholipid vesicles containing 1525%
phosphatidylserine with an apparent Kd of 24 nM. MLID90110140
MLID92381007 MLID92348453  90,99,100 Saturation occurs between 170 and
385 mol phospholipid/mol factor VIII, MLID90110140  90 although the
process involves both rapid and slow interactions. MLID93232040  101
Factor VIII binding to phospholipid involves stereoselective recognition
of the O-phospho-L-serine moiety of phosphatidylserine. MLID93385096 
102 Factor V displays a similar affinity to phospholipids but has a
lower requirement for phosphatidylserine. Since the composition of
phosphatidylserine exposed on the platelet membrane surface can increase
from 2% to 13% after stimulation, MLID84080433  103 the increase in
phosphatidylserine content could account for the ability of factor VIII
to bind the surface of thrombin-activated platelets specifically.

Addition of negatively charged phospholipids to the factor VIII/vWF
complex dissociates factor VIII from vWF. MLID82134732  55,56
Interestingly, thrombin-treated factor VIII does not bind vWF with high
affinity MLID87304256 MLID87246689 MLID88273151  53,62,65 but does
retain phospholipid binding properties. 56 The phospholipid-binding
domain within factor VIII is localized to the light chain, MLID88178572 
104,105 and antibody inhibition studies suggest that the phospholipid
binding site likely occurs in the C2 domain. MLID89255956  106 Peptides
corresponding to the COOH terminus of factor VIII (residues 2,3032,332)
inhibit the interaction of factor VIII with phospholipid. MLID90248570 
69 In addition, deletion analysis suggests that a phospholipid-binding
domain resides in the factor V C2 domain. MLID92156167  107 By contrast,
a proteolytic fragment of the factor V A3 domain inhibits factor V
binding to phospholipid, suggesting that a phospholipid-binding site
resides in the NH2-terminal end of the factor Va light chain.
MLID91072354  108 Thus, at present it is unclear whether the
phospholipid-binding sites of factors V and VIII occur at the same
positions within the proteins.

Regulation of Factor VIII Activity

Activation of Factor VIII

On treatment of intact factor VIII with thrombin, a rapid 30-fold
increase and subsequent first-order decay of procoagulant activity
occurs. The activation coincides with proteolysis of both the heavy and
light chains of factor VIII (Fig. 105-1). Cleavage within the heavy
chain after arginine residue 740 generates a 90,000 MW polypeptide that
is subsequently cleaved after arginine residue 372 to generate
polypeptides of 50,000 MW and 43,000 MW. 109 Concomitantly, the 80,000
MW light chain is cleaved after arginine residue 1,689 to generate a
73,000 MW polypeptide. 109 Each thrombin cleavage site is bordered by a
region rich in acidic amino acids that also contains the
post-translationally modified amino acid tyrosine sulfate. MLID92207952 
25 The tyrosine sulfate residues enhance thrombin cleavage at adjacent
sites, 70 suggesting that these regions interact with the anion binding
exosite in thrombin, similar to the thrombin interaction with the
COOH-terminal end of hirudin that has acidic amino acids and also
contains tyrosine sulfate. MLID90327074 MLID90264426  110,111

Numerous studies correlated the appearance of 90,000, 50,000, 43,000,
and 73,000 MW polypeptides with peak factor VIII activity. MLID83154239
MLID86216230  109,112,113 Mutagenesis studies showed that cleavages
after residues 740 and 1,648 were not required for cofactor activity.
MLID88190085  114 By contrast, mutation at either Arg 372 or Arg 1,689
yielded molecules that were not cleaved by thrombin at the mutated site
and were not susceptible to thrombin activation. MLID88190085
MLID89318011  114,115 Resistance to thrombin cleavage at one site did
not alter susceptibility to thrombin cleavage at the other cleavage
sites. The importance of cleavage at residues 372 and 1,689 for
activation of factor VIII was also elucidated when missense mutations
were identified in hemophilia A patients at either residue 372 or
residue 1,689. MLID88327107 MLID89274393  116,117 In contrast to most
hemophilia A patients, these patients have normal levels of circulating
factor VIII antigen but no detectable factor VIII activity. These
findings indicate that activation requires cleavage at both residues 372
and 1,689, but does not appear to require a specific sequential order
for cleavage at these sites. Cleavage at 1,689 releases factor VIII from
the inhibitory influence of vWF and accounts for a portion of the
increase in factor VIII activity. MLID89367278  118 However, cleavage at
1,689 appears additionally to increase the activity of factor VIII in
the absence of vWF. MLID92235250  119

The B domain, delimited by amino acid residues 740 and 1,648, is cleaved
from factor VIII during and activation. Comparison of the deduced amino
acid sequence of porcine, murine, and human factor VIII showed a
striking divergence within the B domains, whereas the bordering A2 and
A3 domains exhibit 8085% homology. MLID85061550 MLID93300511  18,26
Factor VIII molecules constructed to lack most or all of the B domain
have specific activities, thrombin cleavage products (except for the B
domain), and thrombin activation coefficients similar to the wild-type
molecule. MLID86287369  120,121 The B domain deletion molecules exhibit
no detectable difference in vWF binding, survival in plasma, and ability
to normalize the cuticle bleeding time after infusion into a factor
VIII-deficient dog, compared with the wild-type factor VIII.
MLID93271477  54 By these analyses, removal of the B domain did not
affect in vitro or in vivo procoagulant activity. One notable difference
between wild-type and B-domain deleted factor VIII is that the B domain
deleted molecule is expressed at 510-fold higher levels, exhibits a
reduced association with BiP in the endoplasmic reticulum, and is
secreted more efficiently. MLID88087401 MLID93271477  36,54 This
suggests that the B domain may regulate factor VIII biosynthesis. It is
also possible that the B domain may have procoagulant, anticoagulant, or
vasoactive properties heretofore unknown. For example, a portion of the
B domains of factor V and factor VIII can serve as a substrate for
transglutaminase activity of factor XIII. MLID86278011  122,123

Inactivation of Factor VIII

The activity of thrombin-activated factor VIII requires all polypeptides
of the heterotrimer composed of the 50,000, 43,000, and 73,000 MW
species. MLID89229064 MLID91224994  124126 The 53,000-MW A1 domain is
in a metal ion-dependent association with the 73,000-MW light chain. The
43,000-MW A2 domain polypeptide is associated with the A1 domain and
73,000-MW light chain by electrostatic interactions that likely involve
residues 336372 between the A1 and A2 domains. MLID92317036
MLID93352596  127,128 A detailed characterization of thrombin-activated
factor VIIIa was hampered due to its marked instability. Protein
concentration and pH are important factors for isolation of a stable
thrombin-activated factor VIIIa. MLID90110237  129 Decay of factor VIII
activity after thrombin activation in vitro does not correlate with any
specific proteolytic event. MLID81110682  130,131 Loss of procoagulant
activity in vitro is due to reversible dissociation of the 43,000-kd A2
domain polypeptide from the heterotrimer that occurs at physiologic pH.
MLID92317036 MLID91286275  127,132 The specific activity of porcine
factor VIII is approximately fivefold greater than human factor VIIIa,
which correlates with a lower Kd of the A2 domain polypeptide compared
with the thrombin-activated heterotrimer. MLID91286275 MLID93054719 
132,133 Once activated by thrombin, factor VIIIa is stabilized by the
addition of factor X and phospholipid. MLID84204051  134

Factor VIII is inactivated by proteolytic cleavage. Cleavage after
residue 336 is mediated by factor Xa, 109 factor IXa, MLID92156105 
74,76 activated protein C, MLID84105265  109,135 and also thrombin in
the presence of phospholipid. MLID92207952  25 Additionally, factor Xa
and factor IXa cleave the light chain after residue 1719, 74,109 and
activated protein C cleaves the heavy chain after residue 562.
MLID92041838  88 Because of the multiple cleavages that occur with these
enzymes, it is difficult to attribute the significance of any single
cleavage to its role in factor VIII inactivation. The activation of
protein C by thrombin is subject to regulation by thrombomodulin on the
endothelial cell surface and may represent a significant mechanism to
prevent factor VIIIa from escaping the localized area of vessel wall
damage. MLID94054288  136 Protein C deficiency is associated with severe
thrombotic disease, suggesting that this feedback mechanism may be
physiologically significant. MLID82053492 MLID83042075  137,138 The
relative contributions of proteolytic inactivation and chain
dissociation in regulating factor VIII activity in vivo are not known.
The isolation of thrombin-activated factor VIIIa in a stable form should
provide a means of characterizing the inactivation process directly.

Regulation of Factor VIII Activity by Biologic Membranes

Procoagulant activity is profoundly affected by the presence of cellular
surfaces. On platelet activation by thrombin, the platelet surface
exhibits procoagulant activity. This activity results from the exposure
of negatively charged phospholipids and possibly specific receptors for
the coagulation factors. Negatively charged phospholipids are usually
confined to the inner leaflet of cellular membranes and are exposed on
cellular lysis at sites of injury. MLID79000433 MLID82138870  139,140
Unactivated platelets exhibit binding sites for factor Va and Xa.
MLID79005680 MLID80094513 MLID81094038  141143 Platelet activation is
associated with exposure of factor VIII and factor IXa binding sites.
MLID89034121 MLID87206779 MLID90241883 MLID91373342  144147 There are
approximately 400 factor VIII sites per activated platelet, and factor V
cannot compete with factor VIII binding. MLID89034121  144 The
specificity in binding of factor VIII suggests that a specific receptor
for factor VIII is involved. In addition, the kinetics of thrombin
generation mediated by the prothrombinase complex on pure phospholipid
surfaces compared with activated platelets suggest that a specific
saturable receptor exists for prothrombinase, and probably also for the
factor Xa-generating enzyme complex. MLID94054298  148 Platelet binding
is mediated by the factor VIII light chain and is inhibited by the
presence of vWF. A factor VIII mutant protein that cannot bind vWF with
high affinity retains its ability to bind platelets. MLID92011498  57
Thus the vWF-binding site and the platelet-binding site appear to be
distinct within the factor VIII molecule. After activation, factor VIIIa
is released from vWF and is available to bind to activated platelets.
Thus, one result of thrombin-mediated cleavage within the light chain on
factor VIII activation is release of factor VIII from vWF to allow
binding to platelets.

The anticoagulant properties of the endothelial cell surface is
maintained by several independent mechanisms: (1) heparin sulfate on the
surface of endothelial cells accelerates the inactivation of thrombin by
antithrombin III; (2) thrombomodulin expressed on endothelial cells can
alter the proteolytic specificity of thrombin to activate protein C; and
(3) endothelial cells secrete prostacyclin, an inhibitor of platelet
aggregation, and tissue plasminogen activator, an initiator of
fibrinolysis. Endothelium also exhibits dramatic procoagulant
activities. Activated endothelial cells induce expression of tissue
factor and can mediate the activation of factor X. Endothelial cells
contain high-affinity receptors for factor IX or IXa, as well as factor
X. MLID84144814 MLID83247428  149,150 At present it is not known whether
specific binding sites for factor VIII exist on endothelial cells. Thus,
the endothelial cell surface may positively or negatively influence
factor VIII activity through the generation of activated protein C or by
the binding of factor IXa and X to initiate assembly of the factor
X-activating complex.

Regulation of Factor VIII Activation

The present understanding of the mechanism by which factor VIII
functions is presented in Figure 105-3. The two chains of factor VIII
are associated by a divalent metal ion bridge. vWF interacts with the
NH2 terminus and the COOH terminus of the light chain. The mechanism by
which initial activation of factor VIII occurs is unknown, but recent
evidence has accumulated showing that the extrinsic pathway may be the
most significant physiologic initiator of factor VIIIa generation.
MLID92351144  151 Patients deficient in factor VII have low levels of
factor Xa compared with patients who have deficiencies in factor VIII.
MLID90028725  152 In addition, infusion of VIIa into a chimpanzee
increases the level of circulating factor Xa. MLID87101524  155 These
results indicate that the primary mechanism of factor Xa generation in
vivo is via the extrinsic pathway. Since patients deficient in factor
VIII or factor IX do have a bleeding diathesis, there is a need for an
intrinsic pathway for hemostasis in vivo. Two possible mechanisms could
explain the need for factors VIII and IX in vivo. First, since factor Xa
generation via the tissue factor pathway can bind tissue factor pathway
inhibitor (TFPI) and subsequently inhibit the factor VIIa/tissue factor
complex, only small amounts of factor Xa can be generated before further
extrinsic factor X activation is inhibited. MLID88108141 MLID87101524 
154,155 Since TFPI does not inhibit the intrinsic formation of factor
IXa or its activity, the intrinsic route is required to amplify the
response. Alternatively, since the extrinsic pathway can activate factor
IX in vitro, this pathway may primarily activate factor IX as opposed to
factor X in vivo. MLID78094386  156 Either mechanism could explain the
need for factors VIII and IX for effective hemostasis.

Factor VIII activation by thrombin requires cleavage at both residues
372 and 1,689. Cleavage at 1,689 releases activated factor VIII from
vWF. Activated factor VIII is a heterotrimer composed of the 50,000 MW,
43,000 MW, and 73,000 MW polypeptides. Activated factor VIII is
transferred from vWF to a factor VIII receptor present on activated
platelets to participate in assembly of the active factor IXa complex.
MLID92011498  57 Activated factor VIII is stabilized by assembly into
the factor Xa complex. MLID84204051  134 After activation of factor
VIII, there is a first-order decay of activity that, in vitro, likely
results from dissociation of the A2 domain. In vivo, inactivation may
also occur through proteolytic inactivation by activated protein C,
factor Xa, or thrombin at residue 336 or 562, or both.

Activated factor VIII enhances the catalytic efficiency of factor IXa by
10,000-fold. Enhanced efficiency occurs through several mechanisms.
Binding of factor VIII induces a conformational change in the factor IXa
active site and greatly increases the kcat. MLID92381007  99 The
phospholipid membrane also binds factor IXa and factor X so that the
enzyme complex and substrate are concentrated within a two-dimensional
surface to reduce the Km. It is also likely that factor VIIIa interacts
with factor X to enhance the extended substrate recognition site of
factor IXa, analogous to the interaction of factor Va with
meizothrombin. MLID90202893  157 Finally, membrane fluidity may also
influence the kinetics of factor X activation, similar to thrombin
activation, possibly by influencing the mechanism of catalysis.
MLID93003146  158

Hemophilia A

The gene for factor VIII is on the human X chromosome, and therefore
hemophilia A is a classic example of X-linked recessive inheritance. It
occurs almost exclusively in males; females with one abnormal copy of
the factor VIII gene are carriers because the other X chromosome
contains a normal copy of the gene. The frequency of the disorder is 1
in 5,00010,000 male births, and no particular ethnic group has an
unusually lower or higher incidence of the disease. The severity and
frequency of bleeding in patients correlate with the factor VIII
activity in plasma. MLID87107570  159,160 Of particular interest for the
understanding of factor VIII function is a category of patients who have
a considerable amount of factor VIII protein in their plasma (E30% of
normal) but whose protein is nonfunctional (i.e., the factor VIII
activity is much less than the factor VIII plasma level [usually <2% of
normal]). Approximately 5% of patients belong to this category, termed
cross-reacting material (CRM) positive. MLID79048618  161 Another
category is called CRM reduced: the factor VIII antigen and activity are
reduced to approximately the same level.

Before the introduction of modern treatment, severe hemophilia A was a
genetically lethal disease in which affected men produced few offspring.
Therefore, nearly one-third of the mutant alleles would be lost in each
generation. In 1935 Haldane predicted that in order to maintain a
constant frequency in the population, about one-third of cases would be
the result of novel mutations. The prediction was proved correct, since
a large number of different mutations have been found in the factor VIII
gene, and many patients have been identified who carry a de novo
mutation not present in the X chromosome of their mothers.

Factor VIII Gene Structure and Location

The factor VIII gene is 186 kb long (approximately 0.1% of the DNA of
the X chromosome) and contains 26 exons and 25 introns. The nucleotide
sequence of the exons, intron-exon boundaries, and 5' and 3'
untranslated regions has been determined. MLID85061548 MLID85061550
MLID85061547  17,18,162 The exon length varies from 69 to 262
nucleotides except for exon 14, which is 3,106 nucleotides, and the last
exon 26, which has 1,958 nucleotides (Fig. 105-4). There are some large
intervening sequences such as IVS22, which is 32 kb and IVS1, IVS6,
IVS13, IVS14, and IVS25, which are 1423 kb long.

The normal factor VIII mRNA is approximately 9 kb, of which the coding
sequence is 7,053 nucleotides. There is a CpG island within IVS22 that
is associated with two additional transcripts. One transcript of 1.8 kb
is produced abundantly in a wide variety of cells. The orientation of
this transcript is opposite to that of factor VIII and contains no
intervening sequence. MLID90243242  163 This 1,739-nt-long cDNA has been
termed factor VIII-associated gene A (F8A) and is conserved in the
mouse. MLID92347894  164 The second transcript of 2.5 kb is transcribed
in the same direction as factor VIII; after a short exon that may encode
for eight amino acids, it utilizes exons 2326 of the factor VIII gene.
MLID93052386  165 This gene has been termed factor VIII-associated gene
B (F8B). The two transcripts (F8A and F8B) originate within 122 bases
from each other. The sequences of F8A and F8B along with few kilobases
of surrounding DNA are also present in two other areas of the X
chromosome approximately 400 kb telomeric to factor VIII gene.
MLID90243242  163,166 The function of these transcripts and their
potential protein products are unknown.

The factor VIII gene maps on the long arm of the X chromosome, in the
most distal band Xq28. Haldane and Smith 167 reported linkage of
hemophilia A with color blindness, and Boyer and Graham 168 demonstrated
close linkage of hemophilia A with polymorphisms at the
glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase (G6PD) locus. Additional studies
confirmed the close linkage of factor VIII with G6PD. MLID84125351  169
Patterson et al. MLID88212436  170 showed that G6PD and factor VIII
genes lie within 500 kb of each other. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis
and physical mapping of Xq28 using yeast artificial chromosomes
suggested that the factor VIII gene mapped distal to G6PD. MLID92020841 
166,171 The order of these loci and the direction of transcription is
Xcen-G6PD-3'F8-5'F8-Xqter. MLID93252379  166,172 The distance from
factor VIII gene to the Xq telomere is approximately 1 Mb.

Factor VIII Gene Defects

Since the cloning of the factor VIII gene, the DNA of >1,000 hemophilia
A patients has been examined for molecular defects. Initially,
restriction endonuclease analysis and Southern blot cloning and
sequencing were the methods used. The introduction of polymerase chain
reaction (PCR) amplification from genomic DNA or from RNA (RT-PCR)
revolutionized the mutation detection protocols. Several screening
methods for recognition of mutations have been employed, namely,
denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, single-stranded conformational
analysis, RNA cleavage analysis, and subsequently direct sequencing of
PCR products.

Gross DNA Rearrangements

Common Partial Inversion of Factor VIII

The efforts to characterize all mutations in the factor VIII gene in a
defined sample of hemophilia A patients revealed a surprising and
unexpected finding. After scanning all the exons of factor VIII gene
using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, Higuchi et al.
MLID90152691  72 found the causative mutation in about 90% of patients
with mild-to-moderate hemophilia A. 173 However, when severely affected
patients were similarly studied, the causative mutation was only found
in about 50%. MLID91334474  174 The cause of the remaining 50% remained
elusive. Subsequently Naylor et al., MLID93023378  175 using RT-PCR of
illegitimate transcription of the factor VIII gene, found that in about
40% of severely affected patients no RT-PCR amplification was possible
between exons 22 and 23 of the gene. It was recently demonstrated that
these patients have an intrachromosomal inversion due to homologous
recombination between the F8A gene in intron 22 and one of two identical
copies of F8A located about 550 kb 5' of the factor VIII gene 176 (Fig.
105-5). The elucidation of this hot spot and the development of a simple
diagnostic test is of considerable clinical significance since this
mutation mechanism accounts for about 25% of all patients with
hemophilia A and certainly >40% of those with severe disease.

Large Deletions

In about 5% of the patients with hemophilia A there are large (>50
nucleotides) deletions in the factor VIII gene. MLID89223054  177 The
mutation data base of Tuddenham et al. 178 contains 59 different
deletions. All deletions characterized have different breakpoints, and
there are no two unrelated patients with the same breakpoints,
suggesting that the factor VIII gene does not contain sequences that are
prone to become deletion breakpoints. Deletions almost always produce
severe hemophilia A with no factor VIII activity. A deletion of exon 22
is, however, associated with moderate disease, probably because of
in-frame splicing of exons 21 and 23 and production of a protein without
the 52 amino acids encoded by exon 22. MLID87231899  179 Few deletion
breakpoints have been characterized at the nucleotide sequence level.
Most of the breakpoints examined do not occur in repetitive elements
such as Alu-sequences. There is usually 24 nucleotide homology at the
junction point, and the deletion mechanism is probably via nonhomologous
recombination. MLID91257856  180

Insertion of Retrotransposons

De novo insertion of LINE repetitive elements in the human genome was
first reported in the factor VIII gene. 181 In one case of severe
hemophilia A, a 3.8-kb portion of a LINE element was inserted in exon 14
of factor VIII. The inserted DNA had a poly(A)tail, produced a target
site duplication, and was inserted in a relatively adenine-rich sequence
of exon 14 (Fig. 105-6). The de novo insertion in the second case was a
2.1-kb portion of a LINE element and produced a severe hemophilia A. It
occurred in a different site of exon 14 and had all the characteristics
of retrotransposition. LINE elements comprise about 5% of the human
genome, and there are approximately 105 copies. MLID88050954  182 The
full length of the element is 6.5 kb, and most of the copies in the
human genome are partial and defective. The consensus sequence of LINE
element contains two open reading frames, the second of which predicts a
protein with amino acid homology with reverse transcriptase. About 3,000
LINE copies are full length and are potential transposable elements.
Only a few of these, perhaps those with open reading frames, can produce
a new insertion through an RNA intermediate. They are probably
transcribed into DNA and then reinserted as double-stranded DNA into a
new genomic site. MLID93253021  183 The full-length "active" LINE
element responsible for the insertion in the first hemophilia A patient
was cloned and characterized. It maps on chromosome 22 and probably
encodes for a peptide that has reverse transcriptase activity.
MLID92108429  184 A third LINE element insertion in intron 10 has also
been observed but, since it did not co-segregate with the hemophilia A
phenotype, it represents a recently established private polymorphism.
MLID89233117  185 Insertions of LINE or other retrotransposons are not
common, since there are only two such examples in >1,000 patients


Duplications of parts of human genes are very rare causes of mutations.
Two such lesions are described in the factor VIII gene. In one there was
a duplication of 23 kb of IVS22 inserted between exons 2325.
MLID88324432  186 This rearrangement, found in two female siblings, was
apparently unstable and led to deletion of exons 2325 in the male
offspring of one of the females. In the second case there was an
in-frame duplication of exon 13 in a patient with mild hemophilia A.
MLID90243245  187

Point Mutations

Small Deletion/Insertions

Small deletions or insertions in the coding region of factor VIII gene
that result in frameshifts have been reported. A compilation of point
mutations indicates that there are 21 small deletions (of 1, 2, 4, 11,
and 23 nucleotides) among 252 independent mutations recorded (8.3%).
MLID93194188  188 The number of small insertions (1 and 10 nucleotides)
in the mutation data base is seven (2.8% of the total point mutations).
About one-half of the small deletions (10 of 21) or insertions (4 of 7)
were found in exon 14. All the mutations that result in translation
frameshifts cause severe hemophilia A.

Nonsense Mutations

Sixty-three independent nonsense mutations in 21 different codons are
included in the point mutation data base, comprising 25% of the total
number of point mutations. This percentage is perhaps biased, since many
investigators have used restriction digestion analysis with TaqI that
recognizes CG to TG mutations, in particular CGA to TGA (Arg to Stop)
substitutions. MLID87065092  189 In two samples of 53 severe hemophilia
A patients in which all point mutations have been characterized, the
number of mutant nonsense codons was 7 (i.e., 13.2% [7 of 53] of the
total severe mutations, or 28% [7 of 25] of the point mutations).
MLID93258342  173,190 (There are 4 large deletions and 24 inversions in
the sample of 53 severe hemophilia A patients).

CpG Dinucleotide Hypermutability

The study of point mutations in factor VIII uncovered two general
lessons concerning human mutations. The first was the discovery of a
mutation hot spot at CpG dinucleotides in which there is a common
substitution CG to TG if the mutation occurs in the sense strand or CG
to CA if the mutation occurs in the antisense strand. MLID87065092  189
The CG dinucleotide is the only mutation hot spot known today, and the
mutations occur because cytosine 5 to guanine, is a site of methylation
of mammalian DNA. MLID88113667  191 Methylation at the 5 carbon of
cytosine is due to the enzyme methyltransferase, and it usually occurs
in tissues in which the gene of interest is not expressed. Subsequently
5-methylcytosine is spontaneously deaminated to thymine. There are 120
independent mutations that conform to the CG to TG rule in the point
mutation data base (47.6%). This high proportion of CpG mutations is
probably due to the deliberate screening of these sites with restriction
analysis or oligonucleotide hybridization. In 24 sites recurrent
mutation at CpG dinucleotides appears to have occurred. An unbiased
estimate of the frequency of CG to TG mutation may be obtained from
studies in which all point mutations have been characterized in a given
sample of patients. MLID91334474 MLID93258342  173,174,190,192 In these
selected studies, a total of 84 point mutations have been characterized,
and 32 fell under the CG-to-TG rule (38%). It has been estimated that in
the factor VIII gene CG to TG or CA mutations are 1020 times more
frequent than mutations of CG to any other dinucleotide. MLID88191889 
193 The mutation hot spot has subsequently been observed in a wide
variety of other human genes related to disease phenotypes.

Exon Skipping due to Nonsense Mutations

An important observation concerning the pathophysiology of nonsense
mutations has recently been made in the factor VIII gene and
independently in the fibrillin and OAT genes. MLID93258342 MLID93157831 
190,194 In some cases a nonsense codon mutation can lead to abnormal RNA
processing, in which the exon containing the mutation is skipped. This
observation was made after the introduction of RT-PCR in the mutation
detection methodology. In one case of Glu, 1987 to Stop mutation in exon
19 all detectable RNA lacked the sequences of this exon. In the second
case of Arg 2,116 to Stop mutation of exon 22, there was about 50% of
RNA without the sequences of exon 22, while the remaining 50% of RNA was
of normal size. The junctions of exons 1820 and 2123 do not result in
translational frameshift. The mechanism, significance, and frequency of
the exon skipping due to nonsense mutations are presently unknown.

Missense Mutations

The study of missense mutations (i.e., nucleotide substitutions that
result in amino acid substitutions) is important for understanding the
function of the protein and the pathophysiology of the disease. A total
of 92 mutations leading to amino acid substitutions have been described
(Fig. 105-7). These mutations are spread throughout the different
domains of the gene except for exon 14; this exon encodes for the B
domain which is devoid of amino acid substitutions that cause hemophilia
A. In spite of knowledge of amino acid substitutions, the mode of action
of most of these mutations in producing reduced factor VIII activity in
plasma is unknown. However, several mutations have been identified that
alter thrombin cleavage sites or the VWF-binding site, or otherwise
introduce or destroy N-linked glycosylation sites.

Natural mutations in patients with CRM-positive hemophilia A affect the
thrombin cleavage needed for activation of the molecule. Mutations R372H
and R372C have been shown in vitro to abolish the normal cleavage by
thrombin in the heavy chain. MLID88327107 MLID90227237  195197 It is
not clear whether the S373L mutation has an effect in thrombin cleavage.
Mutations R1689C and R1689H abolish thrombin cleavage at the light
chain. MLID90105723  173,198 These mutations also lead to CRM-positive
hemophilia A in which there is a normal amount of nonfunctional factor
VIII in plasma.

Two sulfated tyrosine residues (Y1664 and Y1680) are found in the region
of factor VIII between amino acids K1673 and E1684 in which a
VWF-binding site has been localized. A natural mutation (Y1680F) has
been observed in patients with moderate, CRM-reduced hemophilia A.
MLID90152691  72 Site-directed mutagenesis of Y1680F results in a
molecule that has lost high-affinity binding to VWF, presumably because
the phenylalanine residue cannot be sulfated. MLID91093266  70,71

Two other CRM-positive mutations produce severe hemophilia A by creating
new N-glycosylation sites in the protein. MLID92279241  199 The first,
I566T, creates a new such site in N564 (NQI to NQT) in the A2 domain of
the heavy chain. The second new site is in the A3 domain of the light
chain; the mutation is M1772T, changing the N1770 (NIM to NIT). In both
cases factor VIII is present at normal levels in plasma, but it is
completely inactive. When the plasma of either patient is
deglycosylated, factor VIII activity is restored to a significant
degree. The significance of a S577P mutation that in theory eliminates a
potential N-glycosylation site at N575 is unknown.

Study of Mutations in CRM-Positive and CRM-Reduced Patients

The elucidation of mutations in this group of patients is highly
instructive for understanding the importance of specific amino acid
residues. A small number of such mutations have been described.
MLID93194188  188 Since about 40% of CRM-positive mutations occur in the
A2 domain, which consists of 228 amino acids or about 10% of the coding
region of factor VIII, this region must be important in procoagulant
activity. Most mutations, however, are CRM negative and probably affect
the folding or stability, or both, of the protein. Since these mutations
result in absence of secreted factor VIII and the in vitro functional
studies depend on the analysis of the protein produced in eukaryotic
cells after transfection with factor VIII cDNA, the mechanisms of action
of these mutants will be difficult to elucidate.

Other Missense Mutations of Interest

Cases with two different mutations in the same amino acid are also of
interest (Fig. 105-6). These are E272G, E272K; Y473C, Y473H; R531C,
R531G; V634A, V634M; R1781C, R1781H; N1922D, N1922S; R1941L, R1941Q;
R2209L, R2209Q; P2300L, P2300S; and R2307L, R2307Q. Mutations in the
last 30 amino acids of factor VIII (C2 domain) may cause reduced
phospholipid binding. Candidates are R2304L, R2307L, and R2307Q. The
domains of factor VIII for binding to factors IX, X, and others have not
been clearly elucidated.

Splicing Errors

A small number of potential splicing errors have been identified. 178
However, no formal proof that the mutations cause abnormal splicing has
been obtained. Two mutations in the invariant GA of the acceptor splice
site in introns 5 and 6 are associated, as expected, with severe
hemophilia A. Four mutations occur in the donor splice site consensus
and two in cryptic splice sites. No extensive functional analysis of
these mutations has been done. It seems that in spite of the presence of
>50 splice junctions in the factor VIII gene, splicing mutants do not
account for a sizable fraction of hemophilia patients.

Promoter Mutations

No examples of mutations in the 5' untranslated region of factor VIII
gene have been reported to date. If such mutations do occur, they are
probably infrequent, since two laboratories failed to find any
nucleotide substitutions in 530 nucleotides of the 5' flanking region of
factor VIII in 227 patients with hemophilia A 74 (Gitschier J, Kogan S,
Levinson B et al., unpublished data). Notably, however, the
cis-regulatory elements for factor VIII gene expression are either
unknown or poorly understood.

Factor VIII Inhibitors

Approximately 510% of patients with hemophilia A develop antibodies to
factor VIII after treatment with exogenous factor VIII. 200 The problem
is serious, since it represents an obstacle for the long-term treatment
of patients with hemophilia. The etiology of development of inhibitors
is not well understood. Epitope mapping of antibodies has shown
specificities against the heavy or light chain, or both, in different
patients. MLID87185841 MLID90001544  201,202 The analysis of many factor
VIII mutations and their association with inhibitor development may
uncover some rules concerning the contribution of the nature of
mutations to the inhibitor formation. Almost all reported inhibitor
cases have nonsense mutations or deletions in their factor VIII gene.
MLID91334474  174 However, two missense mutations (R2209Q and W2229C)
are associated with low levels of inhibitors. Plausibly, these mutations
create such local structural variation that the wild-type sequence
presents an immunologic epitope. Among the nonsense mutations, R1941X is
associated with inhibitors in five of seven cases; R2147X in three of
four and R2209X in three of five cases. Other nonsense mutations,
however, are never associated with inhibitors. For example, in six cases
with R336X that were not associated with inhibitors, exon skipping may
be responsible for some factor VIII protein that "immunologically"
protects from the development of inhibitors.

Gross deletions of factor VIII result in a fivefold greater incidence of
inhibitors than for patients without detectable deletions. 178 However,
no clear picture has emerged as to the correlation between the size or
the breakpoints of the deletions and the development of inhibitors.

Carrier and Antenatal Diagnosis

The cloning of factor VIII gene, the discovery of DNA polymorphic
markers within and closely linked to the gene, and the elucidation of
molecular defects in many patients with hemophilia A dramatically
changed the practice of diagnosis of carriers and affected fetuses. The
discovery of the common partial inversion of the factor VIII gene
provided a means of diagnosis using Southern blot analysis. 176 This
defect accounts for approximately 45% of severe hemophilia A. The
diagnosis of the exact molecular defect in the remaining families is
still not practical even in sophisticated laboratories. Because of the
enormous variety of the remaining mutations, DNA diagnosis is almost
always limited to indirect detection using linked DNA polymorphisms.
Figure 105-8 shows the location and informativeness of DNA polymorphisms
within factor VIII gene. Families requesting carrier or prenatal
diagnosis, or both (after the initial screening for the detection of the
inversion), are usually asked to supply blood samples of a number of
family members for linkage analysis. The affected factor VIII gene is
marked within the family using polymorphic markers both within
MLID91092638 MLID85296150 MLID86232589  203206 and without MLID84244819
MLID85137718  207,208 the gene (Fig. 105-9). Short sequence repeats have
been found in two introns, and additional ones will be soon identified.
MLID91295681 MLID93271395  209,210 Nearly all families are informative,
but 2030% for extragenic polymorphisms only. In those families the
chance of error is 25% depending on the polymorphism used. When an
intragenic polymorphism is used, the chance or error is negligible
(certainly <1%).

The indirect detection of mutant genes is not feasible when only one
male offspring is available and the carrier status of the mother is
unknown. In these cases direct detection of the molecular defect should
be employed. However, because of the large number of different molecular
defects, the considerable size of the gene, and the sophistication of
the mutation detection methodology, direct diagnosis is not available
for all families. The simple test for recognizing the common partial
inversion of factor VIII, which accounts for about 45% of cases of
severe hemophilia A, has dramatically changed the situation. Few
laboratories will deal with the remaining molecular defects. It seems
that the method of choice is the RT-PCR amplification of illegitimate
transcripts and their analysis using chemical cleavage or another
mutation screening method.