Effects of Sulfation on Antithrombin-Thrombin/Factor Xa Interactions in Semisynthetic Low Molecular Weight Heparins

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Most of the biological effects of heparin and low molecular weight (LMW) heparins are related to their ability to bind to many different proteins. To gain insight into structure-activity relationships, we investigated quantitatively the interactions of a series of sulfated LMW heparins of similar molecular weights (derived from statistical desulfation of a supersulfated heparin) with the target enzymes human antithrombin (AT) and thrombin (T). In addition, we analyzed the activation of the protease inhibitor against T and factor Xa (FXa). A nonlinear correlation between the strength of the AT-heparin complex and the degree of sulfation of the LMW heparins was observed, whereas only a modest modulation of T binding to heparin occurred. The efficiency of the heparin derivatives in activating AT toward the proteases is generally high for derivatives exhibiting a low dissociation constant. Only the supersulfated LMW heparin showed serpin activation ability higher than expected from the affinity studies. These results indicate that chemical modification of the sulfation pattern of LMW heparin can be used to efficiently modulate binding affinity and activity toward biological targets.

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