In most flow systems, the rate of protein transfer from bulk solution to a macroscopic surface is site-dependent. In studies on surface- mediated protein conversion, this hampers the comparison of a proposed expression for the conversion process, such as the Michaelis-Menten equation, which actually measured overall conversion rates. However, the rotating disc is a classical example of a uniformly accessible surface and therefore was used for a quantitative analysis of prothrombin conversion by the phospholipid-bound factor Xa/factor Va complex (prothrombinase complex). A simple design of a rotating disc, adapted for ellipsometric measurement of protein adsorption, is presented. Agreement between experiment and theory was obtained for the influence of rotation velocity on the initial, transport-limited, adsorption rates of lysozyme, prothrombin, and fibrinogen. After coverage of the disc with a 20% phosphatidylserine/80% phosphatidylcholine bilayer and preadsorption of factor Va, addition of excess factor Xa and prothrombin resulted in effective conversion of prothrombin. For high (10 surface coverage of prothrombinase, the rate of conversion equals the transport limited adsorption rate of prothrombin. For low (0.1 to 0.5 surface concentrations of prothrombinase, the conversion rate dropped below the transport limit and the intrinsic kinetic parameters could be estimated at Km = 7.1 +/- 1.2 nM and kcat = 25 +/- 1.0 s-1 (20 degrees C). At these low surface activities of prothrombinase, the effect of the rotation rate (6 to 225 rad.s-1) on prothrombin conversion could be explained by the rotation-rate dependent prothrombin transport. This indicates that the fluid shear rate has no drastic influence on the intrinsic kinetics of prothrombin conversion.

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