Indexed on: 04 Nov '98Published on: 04 Nov '98Published in: Biochemistry
Numerous experiments have demonstrated that the C-terminal domain of the fibrinogen Aalpha-chain, the alphaC domain, has a role in polymerization. To further examine the role of this domain, we synthesized a recombinant fibrinogen, Aalpha251 fibrinogen, that lacks the alphaC domain. We examined thrombin-catalyzed fibrinopeptide release and found that the rate of FpB release from Aalpha251 fibrinogen was 2.5-fold slower than FpB release from normal fibrinogen, while the rate of FpA release was the same for both proteins. We examined thrombin-catalyzed polymerization and found that the rates of protofibril formation and lateral aggregation were similar for both proteins, although discernible differences in lateral aggregation were clear. The rate of protofibril formation for Aalpha251 fibrinogen was never less than 85% of normal fibrinogen, while the rate of lateral aggregation for Aalpha251 fibrinogen varied from 64 to 74% of normal. We examined polymerization of fibrin monomers and found that polymerization of Aalpha251 fibrin was similar to normal fibrin at 0.4 M NaCl, but clearly different from normal at 0.05 M NaCl. These results indicate that the alphaC domain has a role in lateral aggregation, but this role is more subtle than anticipated from previous experiments, particularly those with fibrinogen fragment X. We interpret this unanticipated finding as indicative of an important contribution from the N-terminus of the beta-chain, such that protein heterogeneity that includes small amounts of fibrin lacking that N-terminus of the beta-chain leads to markedly altered lateral aggregation.