alexa Determinants of thrombin specificity.


Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals

Author(s): Di Cera E, Cantwell AM

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Abstract Thrombin recognizes a number of natural substrates that are responsible for important physiologic functions. Its high specificity is controlled by residues within the active site, and by separate recognition sites located on the surface of the enzyme. A number of studies have addressed the question of how thrombin changes its specificity from fibrinogen to protein C, switching from a procoagulant to an anticoagulant enzyme. Site directed mutagenesis studies have revealed important aspects of how this switch takes place. Specifically, residues W215 and E217 have emerged as key residues in controlling the interaction with fibrinogen in that mutation of these residues compromises the procoagulant function of the enzyme up to 500-fold. The loss of fibrinogen clotting reaches 20,000-fold in the double mutant W215A/E217A, whereas protein C activation is compromised less than sevenfold. These findings demonstrate that thrombin specificity can be dissected at the molecular level using Ala-scanning mutagenesis and the procoagulant function of the enzyme can be abrogated rationally and selectively. It is now possible to extend this strategy to the study of other interactions of thrombin, as well as to related serine proteases.
This article was published in Ann N Y Acad Sci and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals

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