Biotin derivatives of peptide chloromethyl ketones have ideal properties for specific labeling of the catalytic sites of serine proteinases but have not been widely used as probes because of the difficulty of synthesis and their instability. To make the reagents more accessible, a simple, economical method was developed for preparation of three biotin derivatives of the thrombin-specific inhibitor D-Phe-Pro-Arg-CH2Cl containing increasing lengths of the spacer connecting biotin. Reaction of the peptide with biotin-succinimidyl esters and purification by conventional chromatography yielded the compounds in 91-96% purity. The biotin-labeled inhibitors bound avidin with stoichiometries of 0.88-1.02 mol biotin compound/mol avidin subunits and irreversibly inactivated human thrombin with stoichiometries of 0.89-1.10 mol inhibitor/mol thrombin. Comparison of the three inhibitors by Western blotting indicated that a > or = 7- to 14-atom spacer was needed for sensitive (approximately 10 ng) detection of thrombin, with the derivative lacking a spacer only weakly detected because of its greatly reduced affinity for avidin. Application of the compounds to identify catalytically active products of factor Xa-catalyzed human prethrombin 1 activation in the absence of the protein cofactor, factor Va, allowed the direct observation of transient, low levels of the active intermediate, meizothrombin des-fragment 1, in addition to thrombin. Formation of this intermediate is concluded to reflect an intrinsic property of factor Xa activation of prethrombin 1 that is modulated by factor Va. The methods developed for preparation and characterization of the biotin-labeled inhibitors may be applicable to other tripeptide chloromethyl ketones, and the reagents can be employed for labeling of serine proteinases of diverse substrate specificity.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.