The subsite specificities of bovine factor IXa, factor Xa, factor XIa, factor XIIa, thrombin, plasma kallikrein, and trypsin were mapped with amino acid, dipeptide, and longer peptide thioester substrates. Each substrate contained a P1 Arg residue. The P1' residues included thiol residues which are analogues of valine, leucine, and isoleucine, respectively, and the P2 residue included 12 representative amino acid residues. Longer substrates with the sequence at the antithrombin III reactive site and at the zymogen activation site of various coagulation factors were also studied. The enzymatic hydrolysis of the thioesters was measured in the presence of 4,4'-dithiodipyridine which provides a very sensitive assay for the free thiol. The thioesters were excellent substrates for the coagulation factors studied, and the kcat/Km values for the best thioester substrates were higher than those previously reported for most of these enzymes. Thrombin and plasma kallikrein were the most active of the coagulation factors toward the thioester substrates. The best substrate for thrombin was Z-Gly-Arg-SCH2C6H5, although substrates containing proline in the P2 position were also quite effective. Some of the better substrates for plasma kallikrein had a P2 Phe or Trp residue. Factor IXa was the least reactive of the coagulation factors and hydrolyzed only four of the dipeptide thioesters. Substrates with bulky hydrophobic groups such as Phe or Trp in the P2 position were the most reactive with factor IXa. Factor Xa hydrolyzed all the thioester substrates tested, the most reactive being Z-Gly-Arg-SCH2C6H5. This is consistent with the fact that glycine and arginine are present in the P2 and P1 positions, respectively, of the factor Xa sensitive bonds in prothrombin which is the physiological substrate for factor Xa. Bovine factor XIa showed the least amount of specificity of the various coagulation factors and was quite reactive toward all of the thioester substrates. The most sensitive substrate for this enzyme was also Z-Gly-Arg- SCH2C6H5. Factor XIIa preferred the dipeptide with a P2 Phe, although the simpler thioester Z-Arg-SCH2CH(CH3)2 was more reactive. Trypsin hydrolyzed all of the thioester substrates at a high rate and showed little substrate specificity. With all enzymes studied, extension of the thioester substrate beyond P2 or the P1 thiol leaving group did not lead to an improvement in hydrolysis. Due to their high kcat/Km values and the ease of detecting the thiol leaving group, thioester substrates should be extremely useful for future studies of coagulation proteases.
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