Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Biol Chem. 1993 Sep 15;268(26):19228-31.

Comparative analysis of structurally defined heparin binding sequences reveals a distinct spatial distribution of basic residues.

Author information

Department of Molecular Genetics, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel.


Heparin, among the best studied glycosaminoglycans, is well known for its involvement in a variety of physiological processes. Many proteins, whose activities are modulated via heparin binding, were identified, and the consequences of their interaction with heparin were characterized. However, in the absence of solid structural information regarding heparin-protein complexes, the mechanism by which heparin operates at the molecular level is still obscure. The structure of such a complex is hereby explored via the identification of a common motif in heparin binding sequences. To avoid ambiguity we included in our data base only sequences that have been shown experimentally to be directly involved in heparin binding. Then, a comparison of the spatial distribution of basic residues was conducted among those peptides for which three-dimensional structures were defined. Using computer graphics techniques we were able to identify a unique distribution shared by all of these segments. Two basic amino acids (most frequently arginine) are located at about 20 A apart, facing opposite directions of an alpha-helix. Other basic amino acids are dispersed between these two residues, facing one side, while nonpolar residues face the opposite side, forming an amphipathic structure. The distribution of basic amino acids in other heparin binding sequences that preserves the same spatial arrangement seems to be compatible with a beta-strand structure. The 20-A interval accommodates a glycosaminoglycan pentasaccharide, and the spatial distribution of the basic residues suggests an intertwinement of the heparin-protein complex. The dynamics of such an interaction may provide a clue regarding the ensuing change in protein activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons


    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center