Tissue factor (TF) is the primary initiator of blood coagulation in vivo and the only blood coagulation factor for which a human genetic defect has not been described. As there are no routine clinical assays that capture the contribution of endogenous TF to coagulation initiation, the extent to which reduced TF activity contributes to unexplained bleeding is unknown. Using whole genome sequencing, we identified a heterozygous frameshift variant (p.Ser117HisfsTer10) in F3, the gene encoding TF, causing premature termination of TF (TFshort) in a woman with unexplained bleeding. Routine hematological laboratory evaluation of the proposita was normal. CRISPR-edited human induced pluripotent stem cells recapitulating the variant were differentiated into vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells that demonstrated haploinsufficiency of TF. The variant F3 transcript is eliminated by nonsense-mediated decay. Neither overexpression nor addition of exogenous recombinant TFshort inhibited factor Xa or thrombin generation, excluding a dominant-negative mechanism. F3+/- mice provide an animal model of TF haploinsufficiency and exhibited prolonged bleeding times, impaired thrombus formation, and reduced survival following major injury. Heterozygous TF deficiency is present in at least 1 in 25,000 individuals and could limit coagulation initiation in undiagnosed individuals with abnormal bleeding but a normal routine laboratory evaluation.
Keywords: Coagulation; Hematology; Proteases; Vascular Biology; endothelial cells.