The first mutation identified in the thrombomodulin gene in a 45-year- old man presenting with thromboembolic disease

AK Ohlin and RA Marlar


Thrombomodulin (TM) is the anticoagulant endothelial cell membrane- bound protein cofactor in the thrombin-mediated activation of protein C (PC). It has been clearly demonstrated that the anticoagulant and profibrinolytic functions of the PC system are important for the prevention of a thromboembolic disease. Patients with PC, protein S, or PC “‘cofactor”’ deficiency and/or dysfunction develop thromboembolic diseases. However, the molecular abnormality in at least 20% to 30% of thrombophilic patients cannot be identified by hitherto recognized defects. A putative pathologic lesion in the TM gene could be one of several candidates for these prothrombotic mutations. A directed search strategy for deletions, insertions, or point mutations in the TM gene has not been performed. Therefore, in the present study, we have analyzed the entire TM gene, including the promoter region, by polymerase chain reaction-single-strand conformation polymorphism (PCR- SSCP) in normal healthy volunteers and in patients presenting with a thromboembolic disease. We have identified a patient with a thromboembolic disease and a TM point mutation. In a 45-year-old Hispanic man with a documented pulmonary embolism, PCR-SSCP showed an aberrant band pattern and subsequent DNA sequence analysis showed a heterozygous substitution for G1456 to T. This substitution predicts an Asp468 to a Tyr change in the amino acid sequence that is located between the transmembrane domain and the sixth epidermal growth factor- like domain. The Asp468 to Tyr change would probably lead to significant structural changes not allowing the expression of the TM protein or to a conformational change that is not functional.