The functions of the first epidermal growth factor homology region of human protein C as revealed by a charge-to-alanine scanning mutagenesis investigation

Chong Hui Cheng, Jie Ping Geng, Francis J. Castellino*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Variant proteins containing charge-to-alanine mutations of single amino acid residues and clusters of such groups contained in the epidermal growth factor 1 (EGF1) homology unit of human protein C (PC) have been accomplished, resulting in the following recombinant (r) mutant proteins: r-[E56A/H57A]PC; r-[H66A]PC; r-[D71A]PC; r-[D79A/R81A]PC; r-[E85A/R87A]PC; and r-[R91A/E92A]PC. Studies of the mutant proteins with a variety of Ca2+-dependent and Ca2+-independent monoclonal antibodies not only led to identification of the epitopes of these antibodies, but also confirmed the importance of D/β-hydroxyaspartic acid (Hya)71 as one probable coordination site for Ca2+. Employing these antibodies, it was also revealed that Ca2+ binding to its site in the EGF1 region of PC did not influence Ca2+ binding or adoption of the Ca2+-dependent conformation of the gamma-carboxyglutamic acid domain of this same protein. In addition, the Ca2+-induced inhibition of PC activation by thrombin, and the kinetic constants for activation of PC by the thrombin/thrombomodulin complex, were only modestly affected by any of the mutations. The mutants r-[E56A/H57A]APC and r-[H66A]APC displayed at least 70% of wild type r-APC activity in a fVIII inactivation assay, while r-[D79A/R81A]APC, r-[E85A/R87A]APC and r-[R91A/E92A]APC possessed only approximately 40% activity in that same assay. The special role of D/Hya71 in this process was confirmed by showing that r-[D71A]APC was inactive in the fVIII-inactivation assay. These findings demonstrate that some of the charged residues of EGF1, most notably those in the carboxyterminal region of this domain, participate as partial determinants of the anticoagulant activity of APC. Overall, with the exceptions noted, the data generally suggest that the charged residues of the EGF1 domain of PC, and the Ca2+ binding site contained within this module, are likely more involved with maintenance of the overall structural integrity of this module rather than with its direct functional interactions with effectors, activators, or substrates of PC and APC. Lastly, functional Ca2+ binding to the Gla domain of PC is not significantly influenced by the binding of Ca2+ to the EGF1 module.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1491-1500
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1997


  • Calcium binding
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Protein C
  • Protein domains
  • Protein mutagenesis
  • Protein processing
  • Serine proteases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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