Antithrombin activity of a peptide corresponding to residues 54-75 of heparin cofactor II

G. L. Hortin, D. M. Tollefsen, B. M. Benutto

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Heparin cofactor II (HCII) is a highly specific serine proteinase inhibitor, which complexes covalently with thrombin in a reaction catalyzed by heparin and other polyanions. The molecular basis for the thrombin specificity may be explained by the identification here of a segment of HCII including residues 54-75 that binds to thrombin. A synthetic peptide, HCII(54-75), based on this segment of HCII, Gly-Glu-Glu-Asp-Asp-Asp-Tyr-Leu-Asp-Leu-Glu-Lys-Ile-Phe-Ala-Glu-Asp-Asp- Asp-Tyr-Ile-Asp inhibited thrombin's cleavage of fibrinogen. Clotting activity of thrombin was inhibited 50% at a concentration of 28 μM. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed that HCII(54-75) inhibited thrombin's cleavage of both the Aα and Bβ polypeptides in fibrinogen. However, the peptide did not block thrombin's active site, as hydrolysis of chromogenic substrates was not inhibited. HCII(54-75) probably binds to the same site on thrombin as do carboxyl-terminal residues of hirudins, thrombin inhibitors of leeches. HCII(54-75) inhibited binding of thrombin to a synthetic peptide corresponding to residues 54-66 of hirudin PA, but the hirudin peptide was about 30-fold more potent in binding and clotting assays. Both synthetic peptides, as a result of their polyanionic character, might be expected to stimulate the reaction of HCII with thrombin. However, the hirudin-related peptide inhibited this reaction, suggesting that it blocked a site on thrombin required for interaction with HCII. HCII(54-75) had a net stimulatory effect on the thrombin-HCII reaction as a consequence of its lower affinity for thrombin and greater negative charge relative to the hirudin-related peptide. These studies suggest that residues 54-75 of HCII interact with a noncatalytic binding site on thrombin and that this interaction contributes to efficient inhibition of thrombin by HCII.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13979-13982
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1989


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