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Biochemistry. 1998 Jun 2;37(22):8208-17.

The solution structure of human coagulation factor VIIa in its complex with tissue factor is similar to free factor VIIa: a study of a heterodimeric receptor-ligand complex by X-ray and neutron scattering and computational modeling.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London, U. K.


Factor VIIa (FVIIa) is a soluble four-domain plasma serine protease coagulation factor that forms a tight complex with the two extracellular domains of the transmembrane protein tissue factor in the initiating step of blood coagulation. To date, there is no crystal structure for free FVIIa. X-ray and neutron scattering data in solution for free FVIIa and the complex between FVIIa and soluble tissue factor (sTF) had been obtained for comparison with crystal structures of the FVIIa-sTF complex and of free factor IXa (FIXa). The solution structure of free FVIIa as derived from scattering data is consistent with the extended domain arrangement of FVIIa seen in the crystal structure of its complex with sTF, but is incompatible with the bent, less extended domain conformation seen in the FIXa crystal structure. The FVIIa scattering curve is also compatible with a subset of 317 possible extended structures derived from a constrained automated conformational search of 15 625 FVIIa domain models. Thus, the scattering data support extended domain models for FVIIa free in solution. Similar analyses showed that the solution scattering derived and crystal structures of the FVIIa-sTF complex were in good agreement. An automated constrained search for allowed structures for the complex in solution based on scattering curves showed that only a small family of compact models gave good agreement, namely those in which FVIIa and sTF interact closely over a large surface area. The general utility of this approach for structural analysis of heterodimeric complexes in solution is discussed. Analytical ultracentrifugation data and the modeling of these data were consistent with the scattering results. It is concluded that in solution FVIIa has an extended or elongated domain structure, which allows rapid interaction with sTF over a large surface area to form a high-affinity complex.

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