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J Biol Chem. 1993 Oct 5;268(28):20808-11.

The single-stranded DNA aptamer-binding site of human thrombin.

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  • 1Gilead Sciences, Inc., Foster City, California 94404.


A new class of thrombin inhibitors based on sequence-specific single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides (thrombin aptamer) has recently been identified. The aptamer-binding site on thrombin was examined by a solid-phase plate binding assay and by chemical modification. Binding assay results demonstrated that the thrombin aptamer bound specifically to alpha-thrombin but not to gamma-thrombin and that hirudin competed with aptamer binding, suggesting that thrombin's anion-binding exosite was important for aptamer-thrombin interactions. To identify lysine residues of thrombin that participated in the binding of the thrombin aptamer, thrombin was modified with fluorescein 5'-isothiocyanate in the presence or absence of the thrombin aptamer, reduced, carboxymethylated, and digested with endoproteinase Arg-C. The digestion products were analyzed by reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography and the peptide maps compared. Four peptides with significantly decreased modification in the presence of the aptamer were identified and subjected to N-terminal sequence analysis. Results indicated that B chain Lys-21 and Lys-65, both located within the anion-binding exosite, are situated within or in close proximity to the aptamer-binding site of human alpha-thrombin. The thrombin aptamer binds to the anion-binding exosite and inhibits thrombin's function by competing with exosite binding substrates fibrinogen and the platelet thrombin receptor.

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