Exosites 1 and 2 Are Essential for Protection of Fibrin-bound Thrombin from Heparin-catalyzed Inhibition by Antithrombin and Heparin Cofactor II
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Assembly of ternary thrombin-heparin-fibrin complexes, formed when fibrin binds to exosite 1 on thrombin and fibrin-bound heparin binds to exosite 2, produces a 58- and 247-fold reduction in the heparin-catalyzed rate of thrombin inhibition by antithrombin and heparin cofactor II, respectively. The greater reduction for heparin cofactor II reflects its requirement for access to exosite 1 during the inhibitory process. Protection from inhibition by antithrombin and heparin cofactor II requires ligation of both exosites 1 and 2 because minimal protection is seen when exosite 1 variants (gamma-thrombin and thrombin Quick 1) or an exosite 2 variant (Arg93 --> Ala, Arg97 --> Ala, and Arg101 --> Ala thrombin) is substituted for thrombin. Likewise, the rate of thrombin inhibition by the heparin-independent inhibitor, alpha1-antitrypsin Met358 --> Arg, is decreased less than 2-fold in the presence of soluble fibrin and heparin. In contrast, thrombin is protected from inhibition by a covalent antithrombin-heparin complex, suggesting that access of heparin to exosite 2 of thrombin is hampered when ternary complex formation occurs. These results reveal the importance of exosites 1 and 2 of thrombin in assembly of the ternary complex and the subsequent protection of thrombin from inhibition by heparin-catalyzed inhibitors.
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