Thrombosis and haemostasis

Coagulation factor V: an old star shines again.

PMID 9198191


Blood coagulation factor V plays an important role in the regulation of thrombin formation. Activation of factor V by traces of activated coagulation factors (thrombin, factor Xa or meizothrombin) yields factor Va, the non-enzymatic cofactor of the prothrombinase complex. Since factor Va accelerates prothrombin activation under physiological conditions more than 10(4)-fold it is not surprising that down-regulation of factor Va cofactor activity by the protein C pathway is a very effective way for maintaining the hemostatic balance. In this paper we have reviewed the present status of structural knowledge of factor V and Va, the molecular changes in factor V that occur during factor V activation, the function of factor Va in prothrombin activation and the molecular mechanism of inactivation of factor Va by APC. Although considerable insight in the structure-function relationship of factor V and Va has been achieved, the study of mutated factor V molecules obtained by recombinant DNA technology will undoubtedly resolve remaining questions. The latter is illustrated by the fact that the discovery of factor VaLeiden has significantly contributed to our present knowledge on the regulation of the cofactor activity of factor Va via the protein C pathway. It appears that modulation of the activity of APC by protein S and factor Xa will strongly affect the in vivo activity of this pathway. Factor V not only plays an important role in the regulation of the activity of the prothrombinase complex but also acts as cofactor in APC-mediated inactivation of factor VIIIa. This gives rise to a rather intricate mechanism of regulation of thrombin formation by APC that thus far has been mainly studied in model systems containing purified proteins. Thus, extensive studies in plasma will be required in order to get more insight in the in vivo regulation of thrombin formation via the protein C pathway.