Enhancement of human protein C function by site-directed mutagenesis of the γ-carboxyglutamic acid domain

Lei Shen, Amit M. Shah, Björn Dahlbäck, Gary L Nelsestuen

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20 Scopus citations


This study reports properties of site-directed mutants of human protein C that display enhanced calcium and/or membrane binding properties. Mutants containing the S11G modification all showed increased affinity for membranes at saturating calcium concentration. Ser-11 is unique to human protein C, whereas all other vitamin K-dependent proteins contain glycine. This site is located in a compact region of the protein, close to a suggested membrane contact site. Additional changes of H10Q or S12N resulted in proteins with lower calcium requirement for membrane contact but without further increase in membrane affinity at saturating calcium. Mutations Q32E and N33D did not, by themselves, alter membrane affinity to a significant degree. These mutations were included in other mutant proteins and may contribute somewhat to higher function in these mutants. This family of mutants helped discriminate events that are necessary for protein-membrane binding. These include calcium binding to the free protein and subsequent protein-membrane contact. Depending on conditions of the assay used, the mutants displayed increased activity of the corresponding activated protein C (APC) derivatives. The degree of enhanced activity (up to 10-fold) was dependent on the concentration of phospholipid and quality of phospholipid (± phosphatidylethanolamine) used in the assay. This was expected, because APC is active in its membrane-associated form, which can be regulated by changes in either the protein or phospholipid. As expected, the largest impact of the mutants occurred at low phospholipid concentration and in the absence of phosphatidylethanolamine. The anticoagulant activity of all proteins was stimulated by protein S, with the greatest impact on the enhanced mutants. Whereas plasma containing Factor V:R506Q was partially resistant to all forms of APC, the enhanced variants were more active than normal APC. Protein C variants with enhanced function present new reagents for study of coagulation and may offer improved materials for biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31086-31091
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 20 1998


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