Exosite 2-Directed Ligands Attenuate Protein C Activation by the Thrombin–Thrombomodulin Complex
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Thrombin activity, inhibition, and localization are regulated by two exosites that flank the active site. Substrates, cofactors, and inhibitors bind to exosite 1 to promote active site access, whereas exosite 2 interactions hold thrombin on cells, platelets, and proteins. The exosites also serve allosteric roles, whereby ligand binding alters thrombin activity. Previously, we showed that ligands that bind exosite 2 attenuate the exosite 1-mediated interaction of thrombin with fibrin, demonstrating allosteric connection between the exosites. To determine the functional consequences of these inter-exosite interactions, we examined the effect of exosite 2 ligands on thrombin's interaction with thrombomodulin, a key cofactor that binds exosite 1 and redirects thrombin activity to the anticoagulant protein C pathway. Exosite 2-directed ligands, which included the HD22 aptamer, glycoprotein 1bα-derived peptide, and fibrinogen γ'-chain peptide, reduced the level of exosite 1-mediated thrombin binding to the thrombomodulin peptide consisting of the fourth, fifth, and sixth epidermal-like growth factor-like domains, decreasing affinity by >10-fold, and attenuated thrombomodulin-dependent activation of protein C by 60-80%. The ligands had similar effects on thrombin-mediated protein C activation with intact soluble thrombomodulin and with thrombomodulin on the surface of cultured endothelial cells. Their activity was exosite 2-specific because it was attenuated when RA-thrombin, a variant lacking exosite 2, was used in place of thrombin. These results indicate that additional reactions mediated by exosite 1 are amenable to regulation by exosite 2 ligation, providing further evidence of inter-exosite allosteric regulation of thrombin activity.
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