Identification and characterization of the sodium-binding site of activated protein C.
Activated protein C (APC) requires both Ca2+ and Na+ for its optimal catalytic function. In contrast to the Ca2+-binding sites, the Na+-binding site(s) of APC has not been identified. Based on a recent study with thrombin, the 221-225 loop is predicted to be a potential Na+-binding site in APC. The sequence of this loop is not conserved in trypsin. We engineered a Gla domainless form of protein C (GDPC) in which the 221-225 loop was replaced with the corresponding loop of trypsin. We found that activated GDPC (aGDPC) required Na+ (or other alkali cations) for its amidolytic activity with dissociation constant (Kd(app)) = 44.1 +/- 8.6 mM. In the presence of Ca2+, however, the requirement for Na+ by aGDPC was eliminated, and Na+ stimulated the cleavage rate 5-6-fold with Kd(app) = 2.3 +/- 0.3 mM. Both cations were required for efficient factor Va inactivation by aGDPC. In the presence of Ca2+, the catalytic function of the mutant was independent of Na+. Unlike aGDPC, the mutant did not discriminate among monovalent cations. We conclude that the 221-225 loop is a Na+-binding site in APC and that an allosteric link between the Na+ and Ca2+ binding loops modulates the structure and function of this anticoagulant enzyme.
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