Thrombin: Structure, functions, and regulation

Enrico Di Cera, Andras Gruber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Thrombin is a Na+-activated, allosteric serine protease that plays opposing functional roles in blood coagulation. Binding of Na+ is the major driving force behind the procoagulant, prothrombotic, and signaling functions of the enzyme, but is dispensable for cleavage of the anticoagulant protein C. The anticoagulant function of thrombin is under the allosteric control of the cofactor thrombomodulin. Recent structural advances have shed light on the remarkable molecular plasticity of this enzyme and the molecular underpinnings of thrombin allostery mediated by binding to exosite I and the Na+ site. Thrombin exists in three forms - E∗, E, and E:Na+, which interconvert under the influence of ligand binding to distinct domains. The transition between the Na+-free slow form E and the Na+-bound fast form E:Na+ involves the structure of the enzyme as a whole, and so does the interconversion between the two Na+-free forms E∗and E. E∗is most likely an inactive form of thrombin, unable to interact with Na+ and substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThrombin
Subtitle of host publicationPhysiology and Disease
PublisherSpringer US
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780387096377
ISBN (Print)9780387096360
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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