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Thromb Res. 1998 Dec 1;92(5):213-9.

Rat brain capillary thrombomodulin: structure and function.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Southern California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033, USA.


The anticoagulant transmembrane glycoprotein thrombomodulin (TM) is expressed at the luminal surface of vascular endothelial cells. Recently, we showed that TM antigen and TM mRNA are expressed in brain microvessels in several species and that brain capillaries have the capability to activate protein C. The activation of protein C in brain microcirculation was greatly impaired by major stroke risk factors in rats due to downregulation of TM. In this study, a partial sequence of TM was determined from TM mRNA from brain capillaries examined in brain capillaries of the rat, a species that provides a useful model to investigate stroke mechanisms in relation to brain hemostasis. The predicted deduced amino acid sequences for rat TM were compared with other TM sequences. Particularly high homology (77-100%) among functional domains of the protein, i.e., the epidermal growth factor repeats (EGFRs) 1-6 and the transmembrane region, was observed between mice and rats. Somewhat less degree of homology was observed for bovine and human EGFRs 1-6, while the homology of the transmembrane region was 92-96%. All cysteine residues were conserved among the TM sequences, and specific amino acids previously suggested to be essential for activation of protein C by thrombin TM were highly conserved. We conclude that the highly conserved mRNA and protein sequences may reflect a similar anticoagulant role of TM in brain endothelial and systemic vascular endothelial cells across different species.

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