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Novel human clotting factor identified
Human gene resembles mouse counterpart linked to miscarriages and transplant rejection
By Roberta Friedman

Researchers at the University of Toronto have identified a gene for a previously unknown clotting factor by searching a human DNA database for matches to a mouse gene. The mouse clotting factor has been linked to multiple miscarriages and may play a role in the rejection of organ and tissue grafts, according to a paper in a recent issue of Genomics.

The human gene, called FGL2, was discovered in a database of partial genes, or ESTs, prior to the sequencing of the human genome. It maps to chromosome 7. The mouse gene originally was identified based on the close similarity of its protein product to the well-known clotting factor fibrinogen.

The mouse clotting factor turned out to be pivotal in a study of liver failure and clotting disorders induced by the hepatitis virus. The viral infection in mice, as in humans, can render clotting proteins quite trigger-happy. Gary A. Levy and colleagues at the University of Toronto found evidence that FGL2 may have similar roles in humans and mice. "We have recently demonstrated that mRNA transcripts of FGL2 can be detected in liver tissue from patients with acute and chronic viral hepatitis," the researchers write.

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Yuwaraj, S. et al. Genomic characterization, localization, and functional expression of FGL2, the human gene encoding fibroleukin: a novel human procoagulant. Genomics 71, 330-338 (February 2001).

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