Conformational plasticity of ADAMTS13 in hemostasis and autoimmunity

Bogac Ercig, Tom Arfman, Johana Hrdinova, Kanin Wichapong, Chris P. M. Reutelingsperger, Karen Vanhoorelbeke, Gerry A. F. Nicolaes, Jan Voorberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with a thrombospondin type 1 motif, member 13 (ADAMTS13) is a multidomain metalloprotease for which until now only a single substrate has been identified. ADAMTS13 cleaves the polymeric force-sensor von Willebrand factor (VWF) that unfolds under shear stress and recruits platelets to sites of vascular injury. Shear force–dependent cleavage at a single Tyr–Met peptide bond in the unfolded VWF A2 domain serves to reduce the size of VWF polymers in circulation. In patients with immune-mediated thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (iTTP), a rare life-threatening disease, ADAMTS13 is targeted by autoantibodies that inhibit its activity or promote its clearance. In the absence of ADAMTS13, VWF polymers are not adequately processed, resulting in spontaneous adhesion of blood platelets, which presents as severe, life-threatening microvascular thrombosis. In healthy individuals, ADAMTS13–VWF interactions are guided by controlled conversion of ADAMTS13 from a closed, inactive to an open, active conformation through a series of interdomain contacts that are now beginning to be defined. Recently, it has been shown that ADAMTS13 adopts an open conformation in the acute phase and during subclinical disease in iTTP patients, making open ADAMTS13 a novel biomarker for iTTP. In this review, we summarize our current knowledge on ADAMTS13 conformation and speculate on potential triggers inducing conformational changes of ADAMTS13 and how these relate to the pathogenesis of iTTP.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101132
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Cite this