Miguel A. Cruz, Ph.D.
Interim Division Chief
Education and Training
Ph.D.: University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, 1989
Post-doctoral: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 1994
The plasma glycoprotein von Willebrand factor (VWF) may contribute directly to thrombosis in several pathological conditions such as cardiovascular disease, inflammation and atherosclerosis. In the latter, VWF may function as a bridge mediating platelet adhesion to atherosclerotic lesions containing abnormal elevated levels of collagens, occluding the arteries. In addition, VWF in solution may interact with circulating platelets as a result of high shear stress, resulting in pathological thrombosis.
Our laboratory is devoted to investigate the structure and function of the three tandems A domains located in the central portion of the mature VWF subunit. We are dissecting the molecular mechanism by which the relationship between these three A domains modulate the interaction of VWF to platelets and the synergism between these domains in mediating the interaction of VWF with collagen at high shear stress. Furthermore, we are analyzing the efficacy of the isolated A2 domain of VWF in improving survival of mice with lethal LPS-induced endotoxemia. Our lab is interested in describing the mechanism by which this protein rescues the sick animals. We employ cell biology, molecular biology, protein biochemistry, and structural biology.