Bovine and human protein C show high homology in the amino acids of their GLA domains (amino-terminal 44 residues), despite the about 10-fold higher membrane affinity of the human protein. A proposed membrane contact site and mechanism suggested that this difference was largely due to the presence of proline at position 10 of bovine protein C versus histidine at position 10 of human protein C [McDonald, J. F., Shah, A. M., Schwalbe, R. A., Kisiel, W., Dahlback, B., and Nelsestuen, G. L. (1997) Biochemistry 36, 5120-5127]. This study examined the impact of replacing proline-10 in bovine protein C with histidine, and the reverse change in human protein C. In both cases, the protein containing proline-10 showed lower membrane affinity, about 10-fold lower for bovine protein C and 5-fold lower for human protein C. As expected, activated human protein C (hAPC) containing proline at position 10 showed 2.4-3.5-fold lower activity than wild type hAPC, depending on the assay used. Most interesting was that bovine APC containing histidine- 10 displayed up to 15-fold higher activity than wild type bAPC. This demonstrated the ability to improve both membrane contact and activity by mutation. This general strategy should be applicable to other vitamin K- dependent proteins, providing opportunities to study function as well as to produce proteins that may find use as promoters and inhibitors of blood coagulation in pathological states.