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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Prothrombin activation on phospholipid membranes with positive electrostatic potential.

The conversion of prothrombin into thrombin, which is a crucial reaction in hemostatic plug formation, is greatly stimulated by phospholipids plus calcium ions. It has been proposed that phospholipid surfaces which promote blood coagulation should have a negative surface charge [Bangham, A. D. (1961) Nature (London) 192, 1197-1198]. However, the experiments that led to this proposal were carried out with one kind of anionic phospholipid (dicetyl phosphate). Here we report that membranes, which contain phosphatidylserine (PS) as the anionic phospholipid, can be made positively charged by incorporation of stearylamine and still exhibit almost full procoagulant and prothrombin-converting activity. This suggests that electrostatic forces contribute negligibly to the binding of coagulation factors to PS-containing membranes. Introduction of stearylamine in membranes containing phosphatidyl-beta-lactate (PLac) causes considerable inhibition of their prothrombin-converting activity. Since PLac and PS only differ by the presence of an amino group in the polar head group, the much higher procoagulant activity of PS-containing vesicles is indicative of an important function of the amino group of PS in the interaction with coagulation factors. We propose that the association of coagulation factors with PS-containing membranes results from complex formation between Ca2+ ions and ligands supplied by the protein and by PS molecules. The ability to form such a complex may well explain why cell membranes with PS have such excellent procoagulant properties.[1]


  1. Prothrombin activation on phospholipid membranes with positive electrostatic potential. Rosing, J., Speijer, H., Zwaal, R.F. Biochemistry (1988) [Pubmed]
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