Functional Characterization of TAFI mutants Resistant to Activation by Thrombin, Thrombin-Thrombomodulin or Plasmin
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Thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI) is a human plasma zymogen that acts as a molecular link between the coagulation and fibrinolytic cascades. TAFI can be activated by thrombin and plasmin but the reaction is enhanced significantly when thrombin is in a complex with the endothelial cofactor thrombomodulin (TM). The in vitro properties of TAFI have been extensively characterized. Activated TAFI (TAFIa) is a thermally unstable enzyme that attenuates fibrinolysis by catalyzing the removal of basic residues from partially degraded fibrin. The in vivo role of the TAFI pathway, however, is poorly defined and very little is known about the role of different activators in regulating the TAFI pathway. In the present study, we have constructed and characterized various TAFI mutants that are resistant to activation by specific activators. Based on peptide sequence studies, these mutants were constructed by altering key amino acid residues surrounding the scissile R92-A93 bond. We measured the thermal stabilities of all our mutants and found them to be similar to wild type TAFI. We have identified that the TAFI mutants P91S, R92K, and S90P are impaired in activation by thrombin or thrombin-TM, thrombin alone, and thrombin alone or plasmin, respectively. The TAFI mutants A93V and S94V were predicted to be resistant to activation by plasmin but this was not observed. The triple mutant, DVV was not activated by any of the aforementioned activators. Finally, we have used in vitro fibrin clot lysis assays to evaluate the antifibrinolytic potential of our variants and were able to correlate their effectiveness with their respective activation kinetics. In summary, we have developed activation resistant TAFI variants that can potentially be used to explore the role of the TAFI pathway in vivo.