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J Biol Chem. 1984 Oct 10;259(19):12246-51.

Isolation and characterization of thrombomodulin from human placenta.


Protein C, a plasma protein, is activated by thrombin to a protease (protein Ca) that functions as a physiological anticoagulant. We have isolated thrombomodulin, a cofactor required for the rapid activation of protein C, from human placenta. The purification to near homogeneity was achieved using a crude Triton-solubilized protein fraction from a placental particulate fraction as starting material. Chromatography on DEAE-Sepharose removed 95% of the protein and achieved a 3-fold purification. Thrombomodulin was then isolated by affinity chromatography on a column of thrombin-Sepharose wherein the thrombin had been previously inactivated with diisopropyl fluorophosphate. The final preparation was purified 7,900-fold over the membrane extract with a yield of 7%. We obtained 0.88 mg of thrombomodulin from 100 g of membrane extract derived from 5 kg of placenta. The protein was nearly homogeneous as judged by electrophoresis on 10% acrylamide sodium dodecyl sulfate gels in the presence of 2-mercaptoethanol with an apparent Mr = 105,000. Western blot analysis without 2-mercaptoethanol gave an apparent Mr = 75,000. The protein stimulated the rate of protein C activation by thrombin 800-fold to 10 mol of Ca formed/min/mol of thrombin. Thrombin and thrombomodulin appear to form a 1:1 stoichiometric complex as judged from experiments where we measured the effect of varying the concentration of thrombomodulin with respect to thrombin and the converse, on rates of protein C activation. An antibody directed against rabbit lung thrombomodulin inhibited the human placenta protein by 66%, and the amino acid composition of the proteins from the two species was similar indicating that the proteins are closely related. The apparent Michaelis constant of the thrombin-thrombomodulin complex for protein C is 9.8 microM. The protein C activation reaction requires calcium ions and is maximal at 1 mM Ca2+; higher concentrations inhibited the reaction. Coagulation factor Va and factor Va light chain both stimulate the activity of human thrombomodulin 2- to 3-fold.

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