Mechanism of Catalysis of Inhibition of Factor IXa by Antithrombin in the Presence of Heparin or Pentasaccharide Academic Article uri icon

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  • Because of the homology between factor IXa and factor Xa (f.IXa and f.Xa, respectively), and the critical upstream position of f.IXa in the coagulation cascade, the contribution of the heparin-derived pentasaccharide to antithrombin-mediated inhibition of f.IXa was investigated. Pentasaccharide promotes inhibition of both f.IXa and f.Xa generated in recalcified plasma. This result demonstrates that antithrombin is the predominant inhibitor of f.IXa in plasma, and that the activity of antithrombin is promoted by pentasaccharide. Kinetic experiments reveal that pentasaccharide increases the rates of antithrombin-mediated inhibition of both f.IXa and f.Xa by 2 orders of magnitude. These findings indicate that pentasaccharide-induced conformational changes in antithrombin enhance its capacity to inhibit both f.IXa and f.Xa. In the presence of Ca2+, full-length heparin produces an additional approximately 10-fold increase in the rates of inhibition of both enzymes, consistent with a template role of heparin. Heparin binding to f.Xa was previously shown to be promoted in the presence of Ca2+. Binding studies with f.IXa reveal a 10-fold higher affinity for heparin in the presence of Ca2+ compared with its absence. Thus, Ca2+ promotes heparin-catalyzed inhibition of f.IXa and f.Xa by antithrombin by augmenting the template mechanism. These results indicate that heparin-mediated catalysis of f.IXa inhibition by antithrombin reflects both pentasaccharide-induced conformational changes and heparin-mediated bridging of antithrombin to f.IXa. Furthermore, our data suggest that the efficacy of pentasaccharide for prevention and treatment of thrombotic disorders may reflect its action at two sites in the coagulation system.


  • Wiebe, Ericka M
  • Stafford, Alan R
  • Fredenburgh, James C
  • Weitz, Jeffrey

publication date

  • September 12, 2003