Previously, from the plasma of unrelated haemophilia-B patients, we isolated two non-functional Factor IX variants, namely Los Angeles (IXLA) and Long Beach (IXLB). Both variants could be cleaved to yield Factor IXa-like molecules, but were defective in catalysing the cleavage of Factor X (macromolecular substrate) and in binding to antithrombin III (macromolecular inhibitor). In the present study we have identified the mutation of IXLA by amplifying the exons (including flanking regions) as well as the 5′ end of the gene by polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) method and sequencing the amplified DNA by the dideoxy chain-termination method. Comparison of the normal IX and IXLA sequences revealed only one base substitution (T----C) in exon VIII of IXLA, with a predicted replacement of Ile-397 to Thr in the mature protein. This mutation is the same as found recently for IXLB. The observation that IXLB and IXLA have the same mutation is an unexpected finding, since, on the basis of their ox brain prothrombin time (PT, a test that measures the ability of the variant Factor IX molecules to inhibit the activation of Factor X by Factor VIIa-tissue factor complex), these variants have been classified into two different groups and were thought to be genetically different. Our observation thus suggests that the ox brain PT does not reflect the locus of mutation in the coding region of the variant molecules. However, our analysis suggests that the ox brain PT is related to Factor IX antigen concentration in the patient's plasma. Importantly, although the mutation in IXLA or IXLB protein is in the catalytic domain, purified IXaLA and IXaLB hydrolyse L-tosylarginine methyl ester at rates very similar to that of normal IXa. These data, in conjunction with our recent data on Factor IXBm Lake Elsinore (Ala-390----Val mutant), strengthen a conclusion that the peptide region containing residues 390-397 of normal Factor IXa plays an essential role in macromolecular substrate catalysis and inhibitor binding. However, the two mutations noted thus far in this region do not distort S1 binding site in the Factor IXa enzyme.

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