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J Biol Chem. 2007 Nov 9;282(45):33022-33. Epub 2007 Sep 14.

Activated protein C mutant with minimal anticoagulant activity, normal cytoprotective activity, and preservation of thrombin activable fibrinolysis inhibitor-dependent cytoprotective functions.

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Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Activated protein C (APC) reduces mortality in severe sepsis patients and exhibits beneficial effects in multiple animal injury models. APC anticoagulant activity involves inactivation of factors Va and VIIIa, whereas APC cytoprotective activities involve the endothelial protein C receptor and protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1). The relative importance of the anticoagulant activity of APC versus the direct cytoprotective effects of APC on cells for the in vivo benefits is unclear. To distinguish cytoprotective from the anticoagulant activities of APC, a protease domain mutant, 5A-APC (RR229/230AA and KKK191-193AAA), was made and compared with recombinant wild-type (rwt)-APC. This mutant had minimal anticoagulant activity but normal cytoprotective activities that were dependent on endothelial protein C receptor and protease-activated receptor-1. Whereas anticoagulantly active rwt-APC inhibited secondary-extended thrombin generation and concomitant thrombin-dependent activation of thrombin activable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI) in plasma, secondary-extended thrombin generation and the activation of TAFI were essentially unopposed by 5A-APC due to its low anticoagulant activity. Compared with rwt-APC, 5A-APC had minimal profibrinolytic activity and preserved TAFI-mediated anti-inflammatory carboxypeptidase activities toward bradykinin and presumably toward the anaphlatoxins, C3a and C5a, which are well known pathological mediators in sepsis. Thus, genetic engineering can selectively alter the multiple activities of APC and provide APC mutants that retain the beneficial cytoprotective effects of APC while diminishing bleeding risk due to reduction in APC's anticoagulant and APC-dependent profibrinolytic activities.

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