Tissue factor

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Protein F3 PDB 1ahw.png
Available structures
PDB Ortholog search: PDBe RCSB
Aliases F3 , CD142, TF, TFA, coagulation factor III, tissue factor
External IDs OMIM: 134390 MGI: 88381 HomoloGene: 1511 GeneCards: F3
RefSeq (mRNA)



RefSeq (protein)



Location (UCSC) Chr 1: 94.53 – 94.54 Mb Chr 3: 121.52 – 121.53 Mb
PubMed search [3] [4]
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Tissue factor, also called platelet tissue factor, factor III, or CD142 , is a protein encoded by the F3 gene, present in subendothelial tissue and leukocytes. Its role in the clotting process is the initiation of thrombin formation from the zymogen prothrombin. Thromboplastin defines the cascade that leads to the activation of factor X—the tissue factor pathway. In doing so, it has replaced the previously named extrinsic pathway in order to eliminate ambiguity.


The F3 gene encodes coagulation factor III, which is a cell surface glycoprotein. This factor enables cells to initiate the blood coagulation cascades, and it functions as the high-affinity receptor for the coagulation factor VII. The resulting complex provides a catalytic event that is responsible for initiation of the coagulation protease cascades by specific limited proteolysis. Unlike the other cofactors of these protease cascades, which circulate as nonfunctional precursors, this factor is a potent initiator that is fully functional when expressed on cell surfaces. There are three distinct domains of this factor: extracellular, transmembrane, and cytoplasmic. This protein is the only one in the coagulation pathway for which a congenital deficiency has not been described. [5] In addition to the membrane-bound tissue factor, soluble form of tissue factor was also found which results from alternatively spliced tissue factor mRNA transcripts, in which exon 5 is absent and exon 4 is spliced directly to exon 6. [6] [7]


The coagulation cascade. Coagulation full.svg
The coagulation cascade.

TF is the cell surface receptor for the serine protease factor VIIa.

The best known function of tissue factor is its role in blood coagulation. The complex of TF with factor VIIa catalyzes the conversion of the inactive protease factor X into the active protease factor Xa.

Together with factor VIIa, tissue factor forms the extrinsic pathway of coagulation. This is opposed to the intrinsic (amplification) pathway, which involves both activated factor IX and factor VIII. Both pathways lead to the activation of factor X (the common pathway), which combines with activated factor V in the presence of calcium and phospholipid to produce thrombin (thromboplastin activity).

Cytokine signaling

TF is related to a protein family known as the cytokine receptor class II family. The members of this receptor family are activated by cytokines. Cytokines are small proteins that can influence the behavior of white blood cells. Binding of VIIa to TF has also been found to start signaling processes inside the cell. The signaling function of TF/VIIa plays a role in angiogenesis and apoptosis. Pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic responses are activated by TF/VIIa-mediated cleavage by the protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2). [8] EphB2 and EphA2 of the Eph tyrosine kinase receptor (RTK) family can also be cleaved by TF/VIIa. [9]


Tissue factor belongs to the cytokine receptor protein superfamily and consists of three domains: [10]

  1. an extracellular domain, which consists of two fibronectin type III modules whose hydrophobic cores merge in the domain-domain interface. This serves as a (probably rigid) template for factor VIIa binding.
  2. a transmembrane domain.
  3. a cytosolic domain of 21 amino acids length inside the cell which is involved in the signaling function of TF.

Note that one of factor VIIa's domains, GLA domain, binds in the presence of calcium to negatively charged phospholipids, and this binding greatly enhances factor VIIa binding to tissue factor.

Tissue distribution

Some cells release TF in response to blood vessel damage (see next paragraph) and some do only in response to inflammatory mediators (endothelial cells/macrophages).

TF is expressed by cells which are normally not exposed to flowing blood, such as sub-endothelial cells (e.g. smooth muscle cells) and cells surrounding blood vessels (e.g. fibroblasts). This can change when the blood vessel is damaged by, for example, physical injury or rupture of atherosclerotic plaques. Exposure of TF-expressing cells during injury allows the complex formation of TF with factor VII. Factor VII and TF form an equimolar complex in the presence of calcium ions, leading to the activation of factor VII on a membrane surface.

The inner surface of the blood vessel consists of endothelial cells. Endothelial cells do not express TF except when they are exposed to inflammatory molecules such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Another cell type that expresses TF on the cell surface in inflammatory conditions is the monocyte (a white blood cell).


Historically, thromboplastin was a lab reagent, usually derived from placental sources, used to assay prothrombin times (PT time). Thromboplastin, by itself, could activate the extrinsic coagulation pathway. When manipulated in the laboratory, a derivative could be created called partial thromboplastin, which was used to measure the intrinsic pathway. This test is called the aPTT, or activated partial thromboplastin time. It was not until much later that the subcomponents of thromboplastin and partial thromboplastin were identified. Thromboplastin contains phospholipids as well as tissue factor, both of which are needed in the activation of the extrinsic pathway, whereas partial thromboplastin does not contain tissue factor. Tissue factor is not needed to activate the intrinsic pathway.


Tissue factor has been shown to interact with Factor VII. [11] [12]

Additional images

See also

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coagulation</span> Process of formation of blood clots

Coagulation, also known as clotting, is the process by which blood changes from a liquid to a gel, forming a blood clot. It potentially results in hemostasis, the cessation of blood loss from a damaged vessel, followed by repair. The mechanism of coagulation involves activation, adhesion and aggregation of platelets, as well as deposition and maturation of fibrin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Disseminated intravascular coagulation</span> Medical condition where blood clots block small blood vessels

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a condition in which blood clots form throughout the body, blocking small blood vessels. Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, leg pain, problems speaking, or problems moving parts of the body. As clotting factors and platelets are used up, bleeding may occur. This may include blood in the urine, blood in the stool, or bleeding into the skin. Complications may include organ failure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thrombin</span> Enzyme involved in blood coagulation in humans

Thrombin is a serine protease, an enzyme that, in humans, is encoded by the F2 gene. Prothrombin is proteolytically cleaved to form thrombin in the clotting process. Thrombin in turn acts as a serine protease that converts soluble fibrinogen into insoluble strands of fibrin, as well as catalyzing many other coagulation-related reactions.

In biology, hemostasis or haemostasis is a process to prevent and stop bleeding, meaning to keep blood within a damaged blood vessel. It is the first stage of wound healing. This involves coagulation, which changes blood from a liquid to a gel. Intact blood vessels are central to moderating blood's tendency to form clots. The endothelial cells of intact vessels prevent blood clotting with a heparin-like molecule and thrombomodulin, and prevent platelet aggregation with nitric oxide and prostacyclin. When endothelium of a blood vessel is damaged, the endothelial cells stop secretion of coagulation and aggregation inhibitors and instead secrete von Willebrand factor, which initiate the maintenance of hemostasis after injury. Hemostasis involves three major steps:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antithrombin</span> Mammalian protein found in Homo sapiens

Antithrombin (AT) is a small glycoprotein that inactivates several enzymes of the coagulation system. It is a 464-amino-acid protein produced by the liver. It contains three disulfide bonds and a total of four possible glycosylation sites. α-Antithrombin is the dominant form of antithrombin found in blood plasma and has an oligosaccharide occupying each of its four glycosylation sites. A single glycosylation site remains consistently un-occupied in the minor form of antithrombin, β-antithrombin. Its activity is increased manyfold by the anticoagulant drug heparin, which enhances the binding of antithrombin to factor IIa (thrombin) and factor Xa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Factor XII</span> Mammalian protein involved in blood clotting

Coagulation factor XII, also known as Hageman factor, is a plasma protein. It is the zymogen form of factor XIIa, an enzyme of the serine protease class. In humans, factor XII is encoded by the F12 gene.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prothrombin time</span> Assay for evaluating the extrinsic pathway & common pathway of coagulation

The prothrombin time (PT) – along with its derived measures of prothrombin ratio (PR) and international normalized ratio (INR) – is an assay for evaluating the extrinsic pathway and common pathway of coagulation. This blood test is also called protime INR and PT/INR. They are used to determine the clotting tendency of blood, in such things as the measure of warfarin dosage, liver damage, and vitamin K status. PT measures the following coagulation factors: I (fibrinogen), II (prothrombin), V (proaccelerin), VII (proconvertin), and X.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Partial thromboplastin time</span> Test for coagulation of blood

The partial thromboplastin time (PTT), also known as the activated partial thromboplastin time, is a blood test that characterizes coagulation of the blood. A historical name for this measure is the kaolin-cephalin clotting time (KCCT), reflecting kaolin and cephalin as materials historically used in the test. Apart from detecting abnormalities in blood clotting, partial thromboplastin time is also used to monitor the treatment effect of heparin, a widely prescribed drug that reduces blood's tendency to clot.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coagulation factor VII</span> Mammalian protein found in humans

Coagulation factor VII is one of the proteins that causes blood to clot in the coagulation cascade, and in humans is coded for by the gene F7. It is an enzyme of the serine protease class. Once bound to tissue factor released from damaged tissues, it is converted to factor VIIa, which in turn activates factor IX and factor X.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Urokinase</span> Human protein

Urokinase, also known as urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), is a serine protease present in humans and other animals. The human urokinase protein was discovered, but not named, by McFarlane and Pilling in 1947. Urokinase was originally isolated from human urine, and it is also present in the blood and in the extracellular matrix of many tissues. The primary physiological substrate of this enzyme is plasminogen, which is an inactive form (zymogen) of the serine protease plasmin. Activation of plasmin triggers a proteolytic cascade that, depending on the physiological environment, participates in thrombolysis or extracellular matrix degradation. This cascade had been involved in vascular diseases and cancer progression.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Factor X</span> Mammalian protein found in Homo sapiens

Factor X, also known by the eponym Stuart–Prower factor, is an enzyme of the coagulation cascade. It is a serine endopeptidase. Factor X is synthesized in the liver and requires vitamin K for its synthesis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Factor XI</span> Mammalian protein found in Homo sapiens

Factor XI or plasma thromboplastin antecedent is the zymogen form of factor XIa, one of the enzymes of the coagulation cascade. Like many other coagulation factors, it is a serine protease. In humans, Factor XI is encoded by the F11 gene.

Protease-activated receptors(PAR) are a subfamily of related G protein-coupled receptors that are activated by cleavage of part of their extracellular domain. They are highly expressed in platelets, and also on endothelial cells, fibroblasts, immune cells, myocytes, neurons, and tissues that line the gastrointestinal tract.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Plasminogen activator</span> Type of protein

Plasminogen activators are serine proteases that catalyze the activation of plasmin via proteolytic cleavage of its zymogen form plasminogen. Plasmin is an important factor in fibrinolysis, the breakdown of fibrin polymers formed during blood clotting. There are two main plasminogen activators: urokinase (uPA) and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Tissue plasminogen activators are used to treat medical conditions related to blood clotting including embolic or thrombotic stroke, myocardial infarction, and pulmonary embolism.

Thromboplastin (TPL) is derived from cell membranes and is a mixture of both phospholipids and tissue factor, neither of which are enzymes. Thromboplastin acts on and accelerates the activity of Factor Xa, also known as thrombokinase, aiding blood coagulation through catalyzing the conversion of prothrombin to thrombin. Thromboplastin is found in brain, lung, and other tissues and especially in blood platelets.

Kininogens are precursor proteins for kinins, biologically active polypeptides involved in blood coagulation, vasodilation, smooth muscle contraction, inflammatory regulation, and the regulation of the cardiovascular and renal systems.

Thrombodynamics test is a method for blood coagulation monitoring and anticoagulant control. This test is based on imitation of coagulation processes occurring in vivo, is sensitive both to pro- and anticoagulant changes in the hemostatic balance. Highly sensitive to thrombosis.

Blood clotting tests are the tests used for diagnostics of the hemostasis system. Coagulometer is the medical laboratory analyzer used for testing of the hemostasis system. Modern coagulometers realize different methods of activation and observation of development of blood clots in blood or in blood plasma.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Contact activation system</span>

In the contact activation system or CAS, three proteins in the blood, factor XII (FXII), prekallikrein (PK) and high molecular weight kininogen (HK), bind to a surface and cause blood coagulation and inflammation. FXII and PK are proteases and HK is a non-enzymatic co-factor. The CAS can activate the kinin–kallikrein system and blood coagulation through its ability to activate multiple downstream proteins. The CAS is initiated when FXII binds to a surface and reciprocal activation of FXII and PK occurs, forming FXIIa and PKa. FXIIa can initiate the coagulation cascade by cleaving and activating factor XI (FXI), which leads to formation of a blood clot. Additionally, the CAS can activate the kinin–kallikrein system when PKa cleaves HK to form cHK, releasing a peptide known as bradykinin (BK). BK and its derivatives bind to bradykinin receptors B1 and B2 to mediate inflammation.


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Further reading