Plasma Factor XIII, a transglutaminase, is a complex of two A (gene F13A1
) chains with catalytic activity and two B chains (gene F13B
). FXIII induces clot stabilization and retraction via cross-linking of fibrin monomers and other proteins. Factor XIII deficiency in plasma causes a major bleeding disorder with impaired clot retraction.
FXIIIA is synthesized in megakaryocytes, and is abundant in platelets. It is expressed on activated platelets and cross-links proteins on platelet surface. Little is known regarding the regulation of F13A1
in megakaryocytes and platelets. RUNX1 is a major hematopoietic transcription factor and regulates expression of numerous genes in megakaryocytes and platelets. Patients with RUNX1 haplodeficiency (RHD) with heterozygous mutations have thrombocytopenia, platelet dysfunction with impaired responses to activation, and predisposition to myeloid malignancies. Platelet expression profiling using Affymetrix microarrays of a patient (P1) with a heterozygous RUNX1 mutation (c.969-323G>T) revealed decreased F13A expression, which encodes for subunit A of FXIII: fold-change 0.30; p=0.006; patient profiled twice 10 months apart and compared to 6 healthy subjects. These findings were confirmed by qPCR
￼. With RT-PCR platelet F13A mRNA expression was decreased to ~ 20% of mean expression in 4 subjects.
￼￼￼￼￼￼ Platelet F13A protein expression was decreased by ~50% as assessed by corrected total cellular fluorescence imaging. Platelet F13A
mRNA expression was also decreased (to less than 20% of expression in 5 controls) in two siblings (P2 and P3 ages 8 and 3 years) from an unrelated family with a heterozygous RUNX1
mutation ￼￼￼c.508+1G>A). Plasma FXIII was normal in the
patient P1. We studied the regulation of F13A by RUNX1 in human erythroleukemia (HEL) cells treated with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) to induce megakaryocytic transformation. In silico analyses of the 5’ upstream region of F13A showed 7 RUNX1 consensus sites within 545bp from ATG. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies performed using HEL cells and RUNX1 antibody showed that that RUNX1 binds in the region encompassing site 4 and sites 5-7. In parallel, electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) studies showed binding of nuclear protein to labeled DNA probes with sites 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7. RUNX1 antibody produced a “supershift” with addition suggesting RUNX1 binding. Site-directed mutagenesis of the RUNX1 binding sites in F13A1 promoter decreased promoter activity in luciferase reporter studies in HEL cells, providing evidence that the binding sites are functional. Further, overexpression of RUNX1 in HEL cells increased F13A1 promoter activity and protein while siRNA RUNX1 knockdown reduced F13A1 protein.
We assessed clot retraction over 90 min at 37o
C in the patient P1 and his daughter (also with RUNX1
mutation) in citrated whole blood following addition of tissue factor (1 pM) and CaCl2
(1 mM), and in washed platelets resuspended in platelet poor plasma from a healthy subject supplemented with added fibrinogen (0.5 mg/mL) and stimulated with 0.5 U/mL
thrombin in the presence of CaCl2
. These preliminary studies suggested that clot retraction was slower in the patient P1 compared to the controls, particularly in studies with platelet suspensions.
Conclusions: Overall, these studies provide the first evidence that hematopoietic transcription factor RUNX1 regulates expression of F13A1 in megakaryocytic cells and that platelet expression of F13A1 is decreased in platelets from patients with RUNX1 haplodeficiency. The decreased expression of F13A1 in RHD may contribute to the platelet dysfunction in RHD. These findings are particularly interesting because they reflect regulation of a coagulation protein (FXIIIA) by hematopoietic transcription factor RUNX1.