The mechanism of action of antibodies inhibiting partially factor VIII (FVIII) activity (type II inhibitor) is still poorly understood. We produced an unusual type II monoclonal antibody, called LE2E9, derived from a patient with mild haemophilia A. The antibody displayed several unexpected structural and functional properties such as glycosylation in the variable region, binding to the FVIII C1 domain, inhibition of maximum 80-90% FVIII activity when in excess over FVIII, and prevention of FVIII binding to von Willebrand factor (VWF). Those unusual characteristics of the antibody prompted multidisciplinary studies to determine its mechanism of action and the role of the FVIII C1 domain. Enzymatic deglycosylation and site-directed mutagenesis indicated that the oligosaccharides do not determine the affinity of the antibody but enhanced its FVIII neutralizing activity. Modification of glycosylation in the variable region of antibodies therefore contributes to the diversity of FVIII type II inhibition and provides a novel strategy with which to modulate the functional activity of antibodies. Investigation of the FVIII C1 domain function led to identification of mutations located in that domain and impairing FVIII binding to VWF as a common cause of mild/moderate haemophilia A. Finally, the cloning of human monoclonal antibodies inhibiting partially FVIII activity opened the way to evaluate such antibodies as a novel type of anticoagulant drug. This concept was validated in animal models of thrombosis. Those studies are expected to have a significant impact on the optimization of treatments for patients with inhibitor as well as for patients with thrombophilia.
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