A model for the conformational activation of the structurally quiescent metalloprotease ADAMTS13 by von Willebrand factor

Kieron South, Marta O Freitas, David A Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Blood loss is prevented by the multidomain glycoprotein von Willebrand factor (VWF), which binds exposed collagen at damaged vessels and captures platelets. VWF is regulated by the metalloprotease ADAMTS13, which in turn is conformationally activated by VWF. To delineate the structural requirements for VWF-mediated conformational activation of ADAMTS13, we performed binding and functional studies with a panel of truncated ADAMTS13 variants. We demonstrate that both the isolated CUB1 and CUB2 domains in ADAMTS13 bind to the spacer domain exosite of a truncated ADAMTS13 variant, MDTCS (KD of 135 ± 1 0.1 nm and 86.9 ± 9.0 nm, respectively). However, only the CUB1 domain inhibited proteolytic activity of MDTCS. Moreover, ADAMTS13ΔCUB2, unlike ADAMTS13ΔCUB1-2, exhibited activity similar to wild-type ADAMTS13 and could be activated by VWF D4-CK. The CUB2 domain is, therefore, not essential for maintaining the inactive conformation of ADAMTS13. Both CUB domains could bind to the VWF D4-CK domain fragment (KD of 53.7 ± 2.1 nm and 84.3 ± 2.0 nm, respectively). However, deletion of both CUB domains did not prevent VWF D4-CK binding, suggesting that competition for CUB-domain binding to the spacer domain is not the dominant mechanism behind the conformational activation. ADAMTS13ΔTSP8-CUB2 could no longer bind to VWF D4-CK, and deletion of TSP8 abrogated ADAMTS13 conformational activation. These findings support an ADAMTS13 activation model in which VWF D4-CK engages the TSP8-CUB2 domains, inducing the conformational change that disrupts the CUB1-spacer domain interaction and thereby activates ADAMTS13.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5760-5769
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of biological chemistry
Issue number14
Early online date16 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2017


  • ADAMTS13 Protein/chemistry
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Models, Chemical
  • Protein Binding/physiology
  • Protein Domains
  • von Willebrand Factor/chemistry


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