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J Biol Chem. 1998 Jan 23;273(4):2127-35.

Plasma and recombinant thrombin-activable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI) and activated TAFI compared with respect to glycosylation, thrombin/thrombomodulin-dependent activation, thermal stability, and enzymatic properties.

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Department of Biochemistry, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


Thrombin-activable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI) is a human plasma zymogen similar to pancreatic pro-carboxypeptidase B. Cleavage of the zymogen by thrombin/thrombomodulin generates the enzyme, activated TAFI (TAFIa), which retards fibrin clot lysis in vitro and likely modulates fibrinolysis in vivo. In the present work we stably expressed recombinant TAFI in baby hamster kidney cells, purified it to homogeneity from conditioned serum-free medium, and compared it to plasma TAFI (pTAFI) with respect to glycosylation and kinetics of activation by thrombin/thrombomodulin. Although rTAFI is glycosylated somewhat differently than pTAFI, cleavage products with thrombin/thrombomodulin are indistinguishable, and parameters of activation kinetics are very similar with kcat = 0.55 s-1, K(m) = 0.54 microM, and Kd = 6.0 nM for rTAFI and kcat = 0.61 s-1, K(m) = 0.55 microM, and Kd = 6.6 nM for pTAFI. The respective TAFIa species also were prepared and compared with respect to thermal stability and enzymatic properties, including inhibition of fibrinolysis. The half-life of both enzymes at 37 degrees C is about 10 min, and the decay of enzymatic activity is associated with a quenching (to approximately 62% of the initial value at 60 min) of the intrinsic fluorescence of the enzyme. Stability was highly temperature-dependent, which, according to transition state theory, indicates both high enthalpy and entropy changes associated with inactivation (delta Ho++ approximately equal to 45 kcal/mol and delta So++ approximately equal to 80 cal/mol/K). Both species of TAFIa are stabilized by the competitive inhibitors 2-guanidinoethylmercaptosuccinic acid and epsilon-aminocaproic acid. rTAFIa and pTAFIa are very similar with respect to kinetics of cleavage of small substrates, susceptibility to inhibitors, and ability to retard both tPA-induced and plasmin-mediated fibrinolysis. These studies provide new insights into the thermal instability of TAFIa, a property which could be a significant regulator of its activity in vivo; in addition, they show that rTAFI and rTAFIa are excellent surrogates for the natural plasma-derived species, a necessary prerequisite for future studies of structure and function by site-specific mutagenesis.

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