Variable Contributions of Basic Residues Forming an APC Exosite in the Binding and Inactivation of Factor VIIIa

Basic residues contained in the 39-, 60-, and 70–80-loops of activated protein C (APC) comprise an exosite that contributes to the binding and subsequent proteolytic inactivation of factor (F) VIIIa. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) showed that WT APC bound to FVIII light chain (LC) and the FVIIIa A1/A3C1C2 dimer with equivalent affinity (<i>K</i><sub>d</sub> = 525 and 546 nM, respectively). These affinity values may reflect binding interactions to the acidic residue-rich a1 and a3 segments adjacent to A1 domain in the A1/A3C1C2 and A3 domain in LC, respectively. Results from SPR, using a panel of APC exosite variants where basic residues were mutated, in binding to immobilized FVIIIa A1/A3C1C2 or LC indicated ∼4–10-fold increases in the <i>K</i><sub>d</sub> values relative to WT for several of the variants including Lys39Ala, Lys37-Lys38-Lys39/Pro-Gln-Glu, and Arg67Ala. On the other hand, a number of APC variants including Lys38Ala, Lys62Ala, and Lys78Ala showed little if any change in binding affinity to the FVIII substrates. FXa generation assays and Western blotting, used to monitor rates of FVIIIa inactivation and proteolysis at the primary cleavage site in the cofactor (Arg<sup>336</sup>), respectively, showed marked rate reductions relative to WT for the Lys39Ala, Lys37-Lys38-Lys39/Pro-Gln-Glu, Arg67Ala, and Arg74Ala variants. Furthermore, kinetic analysis monitoring FVIIIa inactivation by APC variants at varying FVIIIa substrate concentration showed ∼2.6–4.4-fold increases in <i>K</i><sub>m</sub> values relative to WT. These results show a variable contribution of basic residues comprising the APC exosite, with significant contributions from Lys39, Arg67, and Arg74 to forming a FVIIIa-interactive site.