The roles of factor XIIIa-specific cross-links in thrombus formation, regression, or probability for embolization are largely unknown. A molecular understanding of fibrin architecture at the level of these cross-links could inform the development of therapeutic strategies to prevent the sequelae of thromboembolism. Here, we present an MS-based method to map native factor XIIIa cross-links in the insoluble matrix component of whole-blood or plasma-fibrin clots and in in vivo thrombi. Using a chaotrope-insoluble digestion method and quantitative cross-linking MS, we identified the previously mapped fibrinogen peptides that are responsible for covalent D-dimer association, as well as dozens of novel cross-links in the αC region of fibrinogen α. Our findings expand the known native cross-linked species from one to over 100 and suggest distinct antiparallel registries for interprotofibril association and covalent attachment of serpins that regulate clot dissolution.
Keywords: chemical digestion; factor XIII; fibrin; fibrinolysis; mass spectrometry (MS); protein cross-linking; thrombosis; transglutaminase.
© 2019 Schmitt et al.