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A Mutation in the Kringle Domain of Human Factor XII That Causes Autoinflammation, Disturbs Zymogen Quiescence, and Accelerates Activation

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A Mutation in the Kringle Domain of Human Factor XII That Causes Autoinflammation, Disturbs Zymogen Quiescence, and Accelerates Activation

Zonne L M Hofman et al. J Biol Chem.

Abstract

Coagulation factor XII (FXII) drives production of the inflammatory peptide bradykinin. Pathological mutations in the F12 gene, which encodes FXII, provoke acute tissue swelling in hereditary angioedema (HAE). Interestingly, a recently identified F12 mutation, causing a W268R substitution, is not associated with HAE. Instead, FXII-W268R carriers experience cold-inducible urticarial rash, arthralgia, fever, and fatigue. Here, we aimed to investigate the molecular characteristics of the FXII-W268R variant. We expressed wild type FXII (FXII-WT), FXII-W268R, and FXII-T309R (which causes HAE), as well as other FXII variants in HEK293 freestyle cells. Using chromogenic substrate assays, immunoblotting, and ELISA, we analyzed expression media, cell lysates, and purified proteins for FXII activation. Recombinant FXII-W268R forms increased amounts of intracellular cleavage products that are also present in expression medium and display enzymatic activity. The active site-incapacitated variant FXII-W268R/S544A reveals that intracellular fragmentation is largely dependent on autoactivation. Purified FXII-W268R is highly sensitive to activation by plasma kallikrein and plasmin, compared with FXII-WT or FXII-T309R. Furthermore, binding studies indicated that the FXII-W268R variant leads to the exposure of a plasminogen-binding site that is cryptic in FXII-WT. In plasma, recombinant FXII-W268R spontaneously triggers high-molecular-weight kininogen cleavage. Our findings suggest that the W268R substitution influences FXII protein conformation and exposure of the activation loop, which is concealed in FXII-WT. This results in intracellular autoactivation and constitutive low-grade secretion of activated FXII. These findings help to explain the chronically increased contact activation in carriers of the FXII-W268R variant.

Keywords: autoinflammatory syndrome; bradykinin; coagulation factor; enzyme mutation; factor XII; hereditary angioedema; inflammation; kringle domain; serine protease; vascular biology.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the contents of this article

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