Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Academic Editor: Francis Castellino
There have been extensive studies on the structure and function of prothrombin; a protein critical for the coagulation of blood. The biological functions of prothrombin and its activated form, thrombin are discussed, as well as the structure and functional domains of the protein. Prothrombin is expressed in a tissue-specific manner and its gene structure and regulatory elements have been analyzed in detail. In order to learn more about the functions of prothrombin in an in vivo context, the gene was ablated in mice. Homozygous deletion of prothrombin results in a partial embryonic lethal phenotype. Approximately half of the homozygous mutant mice die during mid-gestation and the remainder die soon after birth. The cause of death of neonates is due to excessive bleeding, while null embryos have a lack of integrity of the yolk sac membrane resulting in bleeding into the yolk sac cavity. These results are discussed in relation to the phenotypes found for other mice lacking specific coagulation factors.