Abstract

Factor XIa (FXIa), a plasma serine protease that activates FIX, is regulated by protease nexin 2 (PN2), a Kunitz-type protease inhibitor (KPI) secreted on platelet activation. The Kunitz protease inhibitor domain of protease nexin 2 (PN2KPI) is highly homologous (45% primary sequence identity) to basic pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI, another Kunitz-type protease inhibitor) and their backbone tertiary structures are nearly identical (

J Biol Chem
280
:
36165
,
2005
;
J Mol Biol
230
:
919
,
2005
). However, PN2KPI (Ki 1 nM) is 600-fold more potent as a FXIa inhibitor than bovine basic pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI; Ki 630 nM). The present study is aimed at examining why these two structurally similar inhibitors are so different in their affinities and specificities in FXIa inhibition and analyzing the mechanisms of FXIa inhibition by these two inhibitors. Reasoning that the P1 residue (Arg15 in PN2KPI and Lys15 in BPTI) might play a crucial role in determining the affinity and specificity for FXIa we expressed BPTI-K15R (mimicking PN2KPI at the P1 site) and PN2KPI-R15K (mimicking BPTI at the P1 site) and examined their inhibitory properties. BPTI-K15R was found to inhibit FXIa with a Ki (10 nM) ~60-fold tighter than BPTI (Ki 630 nM), whereas PN2KPI-R15K inhibited FXIa with a Ki (32 nM) that was 32- fold impaired compared with PN2KPI (Ki 1 nM). Progress curves of peptidyl fluorogenic substrate (Boc-Glu-Ala-Arg-AMC) hydrolysis by FXIa in the presence of all the inhibitors except BPTI clearly demonstrated higher initial rates that continuously decreased until reaching a steady state, typical of slow inhibition. Progress curves obtained using BPTI, on the other hand, were found to be linear at all concentrations of the inhibitor. Analysis using steady state kinetics clearly demonstrated that BPTI is a competitive inhibitor in FXIa hydrolysis of the peptidyl chromogenic substrate, pyro-Glu-Pro-Arg-pNA. Analysis of progress curves using kinetic equations for slow, tight-binding inhibitors confirmed that the formation of the FXIa:PN2KPI complex occurs in a single step that is slow, whereas formation of FXIa:PN2KPI-R15K, FXIa:BPTI and FXIa:BPTI-K15R complexes do not conform to the same kinetic mechanism. Thus PN2KPI and BPTI inhibit FXIa by distinctly different mechanisms and the Arg at the P1 site of PN2KPI confers specificity and high affinity for FXIa inhibition and in part determines the mechanism of PN2KPI as a slow, tight binding inhibitor.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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