Von Willebrand factor. A protein which binds at the cell surface interface between platelets

S. E. Senogles, G. L. Nelsestuen

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10 Scopus citations


Von Willebrand factor (VWF) functions in platelet aggregation, a form of cellular interaction. In vitro analysis of platelet aggregation, as measured by the platelet aggregometer, requires addition of a promoter such as the glycopeptide antibiotic ristocetin. Native multimeric VWF (M(r) = 1-20 x 106) can be reduced with sulfhydryl reagents to a monomeric state (M(r) = 2 x 105). In this study, the binding of bovine VWF and ristocetin to bovine platelets was investigated using fluorescence anisotropy of derivatized monomer protein and ristocetin and also by radioisotope methods using 125I-labeled monomer and native protein. Ristocetin bound to bovine platelets but not to VWF. VWF binding to formaldehyde-fixed platelets was dependent on the presence of a promoter such as ristocetin. The monomer and multimer VWF bound equally well in the presence of low ristocetin concentrations. Under these conditions, plots of VWF binding versus platelet concentrations were sigmoidal, indicating positive cooperativity with respect to platelets. At higher (100 μg/ml) ristocetin concentrations, the binding curve was no longer sigmoidal. Ristocetin promoted the formation of small platelet aggregates, an effect that was amplified by the presence of VWF. In fact, all conditions which resulted in monomer or multimer VWF binding to platelets also caused formation of platelet aggregates observed by light microscopy. These combined results were consistent with VWF binding only to the interface between proximal platelets. High affinity binding could be provided by the presence of two cell surfaces and the resulting multiple binding interactions. Polycations, such as poly(L-lysine) and Polybrene, also promoted the formation of platelet aggregates and facilitated the binding of VWF to platelets. Physiological platelet activators such as thrombin, ADP, and collagen also facilitated VWF binding to native platelets and caused platelet aggregation. It appears possible that any process which causes the surface membranes of platelets to become spatially close will allow expression of VWF activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12327-12333
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - 1983


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