Article

Modifiers of von Willebrand factor identified by natural variation in inbred strains of mice

Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
Blood (Impact Factor: 9.78). 09/2009; 114(26):5368-74. DOI: 10.1182/blood-2009-07-233213
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Type 1 von Willebrand disease (VWD) is the most common inherited human bleeding disorder. However, diagnosis is complicated by incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity, as well as wide variation in von Willebrand factor (VWF) levels among the normal population. Previous work has exploited the highly variable plasma VWF levels among inbred strains of mice to identify 2 major regulators, Mvwf1 and Mvwf2 (modifier of VWF). Mvwf1 is a glycosyltransferase and Mvwf2 is a natural variant in Vwf that alters biosynthesis. We report the identification of an additional alteration at the Vwf locus (Mvwf5), as well as 2 loci unlinked to Vwf (Mvwf6-7) using a backcross approach with the inbred mouse strains WSB/EiJ and C57BL/6J. Through positional cloning, we show that Mvwf5 is a cis-regulatory variant that alters Vwf mRNA expression. A similar mechanism could potentially explain a significant percentage of human VWD cases, especially those with no detectable mutation in the VWF coding sequence. Mvwf6 displays conservation of synteny with potential VWF modifier loci identified in human pedigrees, suggesting that its ortholog may modify VWF in human populations.

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