Domains involved in multimer assembly of von willebrand factor (vWF): multimerization is independent of dimerization

EMBO J. 1990 Mar;9(3):797-803. doi: 10.1002/j.1460-2075.1990.tb08176.x.


The precursor protein of von Willebrand factor (pro-vWF) consist of four repeated domains, denoted D1-D2-D'-D3-A1-A2-A3-D4-B1-B2-B3-C1-C2. The domains D1 and D2 constitute the amino-terminal pro-polypeptide and the remaining domains mature vWF, generated upon proteolytic processing. We have shown previously that the pro-polypeptide of pro-vWF is obligatory for assembly of pro-vWF dimers into multimers, a process vital for efficient adhesion of platelets to an injured vessel wall. Here, we have employed full length vWF cDNA to construct a series of deletion mutants, based on the homology between the various domains. Specifically, the domains D', D3 or both were deleted and the multimeric pattern of the mutant vWF proteins was analysed after transient expression in COS-1 cells. It is demonstrated that in addition to the pro-polypeptide, both the D' and the D3 domain are required for multimer assembly. Furthermore, by analysing a construct containing only the domains D' and D3 next to the pro-polypeptide it is shown that this is the only part of the vWF protein involved in multimer assembly. Since, the formation of pro-vWF dimers relies on the carboxy-terminal area of mature vWF, it is concluded that multimer assembly is a process independent of dimerization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Gene Expression
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Plasmids
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transfection
  • von Willebrand Factor / genetics*


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • von Willebrand Factor