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November 2016


Factor XIIIa (FXIIIa) is a transglutaminase that catalyzes the last step in the coagulation process. Orthostery is the only approach that has been exploited to design FXIIIa inhibitors. Yet, allosteric inhibition of FXIIIa is a paradigm that may offer a key advantage of controlled inhibition over orthosteric inhibition. Such an approach is likely to lead to novel FXIIIa inhibitors that do not carry bleeding risks. We reasoned that targeting a collection of basic amino acid residues distant from FXIIIa’s active site by using sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) or non-saccharide GAG mimetics (NSGMs) would lead to the discovery of the first allosteric FXIIIa inhibitors. We tested a library of 22 variably sulfated GAGs and NSGMs against human FXIIIa to discover promising hits. Interestingly, although some GAGs bound to FXIIIa better than NSGMs, no GAG displayed any inhibition. An undecasulfated quercetin analog was found to inhibit FXIIIa with reasonable potency (efficacy of 98%). Michaelis-Menten kinetic studies revealed an allosteric mechanism of inhibition. Fluorescence studies confirmed close correspondence between binding affinity and inhibition potency, as expected for an allosteric process. The inhibitor was reversible and at least 9-fold- and 26-fold selective over two GAG-binding proteins factor Xa (efficacy of 71%) and thrombin, respectively, and at least 27-fold selective over a cysteine protease papain. The inhibitor also inhibited the FXIIIa-mediated polymerization of fibrin in vitro. Overall, our work presents the proof-of-principle that FXIIIa can be allosterically modulated by sulfated non-saccharide agents much smaller than GAGs, which should enable the design of selective and safe anticoagulants.


© 2016 Al-Horani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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VCU Medicinal Chemistry Publications (361 kB)