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Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 6;7:39575. doi: 10.1038/srep39575.

NMR reveals a dynamic allosteric pathway in thrombin.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0378, USA.
NMRFAM University of Wisconsin, 433 Babcock Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology and Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California, San Diego 10100 Hopkins Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Although serine proteases are found ubiquitously in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes, and they comprise the largest of all of the peptidase families, their dynamic motions remain obscure. The backbone dynamics of the coagulation serine protease, apo-thrombin (S195M-thrombin), were compared to the substrate-bound form (PPACK-thrombin). R1, R2, 15N-{1H}NOEs, and relaxation dispersion NMR experiments were measured to capture motions across the ps to ms timescale. The ps-ns motions were not significantly altered upon substrate binding. The relaxation dispersion data revealed that apo-thrombin is highly dynamic, with μs-ms motions throughout the molecule. The region around the N-terminus of the heavy chain, the Na+-binding loop, and the 170 s loop, all of which are implicated in allosteric coupling between effector binding sites and the active site, were dynamic primarily in the apo-form. Most of the loops surrounding the active site become more ordered upon PPACK-binding, but residues in the N-terminal part of the heavy chain, the γ-loop, and anion-binding exosite 1, the main allosteric binding site, retain μs-ms motions. These residues form a dynamic allosteric pathway connecting the active site to the main allosteric site that remains in the substrate-bound form.

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