FXIII (Factor XIII) is a Ca2+-dependent enzyme which forms covalent ϵ-(γ-glutamyl)lysine cross-links between the γ-carboxy-amine group of a glutamine residue and the ϵ-amino group of a lysine residue. FXIII was originally identified as a protein involved in fibrin clot stabilization; however, additional extracellular and intracellular roles for FXIII have been identified which influence thrombus resolution and tissue repair. The present review discusses the substrates of FXIIIa (activated FXIII) involved in thrombosis and wound healing with a particular focus on: (i) the influence of plasma FXIIIa on the formation of stable fibrin clots able to withstand mechanical and enzymatic breakdown through fibrin–fibrin cross-linking and cross-linking of fibrinolysis inhibitors, in particular α2-antiplasmin; (ii) the role of intracellular FXIIIa in clot retraction through cross-linking of platelet cytoskeleton proteins, including actin, myosin, filamin and vinculin; (iii) the role of intracellular FXIIIa in cross-linking the cytoplasmic tails of monocyte AT1Rs (angiotensin type 1 receptors) and potential effects on the development of atherosclerosis; and (iv) the role of FXIIIa on matrix deposition and tissue repair, including cross-linking of extracellular matrix proteins, such as fibronectin, collagen and von Willebrand factor, and the effects on matrix deposition and cell–matrix interactions. The review highlights the central role of FXIIIa in the regulation of thrombus stability, thrombus regulation, cell–matrix interactions and wound healing, which is supported by observations in FXIII-deficient humans and animals.

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