Background: Alpha-2-antiplasmin (α2AP) is the main natural inhibitor of plasmin. The C-terminus of α2AP is crucial for the initial interaction with plasmin(ogen) and the rapid inhibitory mechanism. Approximately 35% of circulating α2AP has lost its C-terminus (non-plasminogen binding α2AP/NPB-α2AP) and thereby its rapid inhibitory capacity. The C-terminal cleavage site of α2AP is still unknown. A commercially available monoclonal antibody against α2AP (TC 3AP) detects intact but not NPB-α2AP, suggesting that the cleavage site is located N-terminally from the epitope of TC 3AP. Objectives: To determine the epitope of TC 3AP and then to localize the C-terminal cleavage site of α2AP. Methods: For epitope mapping of TC 3AP, commercially available plasma purified α2AP was enzymatically digested with Asp-N, Glu-C, or Lys-N. The resulting peptides were immunoprecipitated using TC 3AP-loaded Dynabeads® Protein G. Bound peptides were eluted and analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectometry (LC-MS/MS). To localize the C-terminal cleavage site precisely, α2AP (intact and NPB) was purified from plasma and analyzed by LC-MS/MS after enzymatic digestion with Arg-C. Results: We localized the epitope of TC 3AP between amino acid residues Asp428 and Gly439. LC-MS/MS data from plasma purified α2AP showed that NPB-α2AP results from cleavage at Gln421-Asp422 as preferred site, but also after Leu417, Glu419, Gln420, or Asp422. Conclusions: The C-terminal cleavage site of human α2AP is located N-terminally from the TC 3AP epitope. Because C-terminal cleavage of α2AP can occur after multiple residues, different proteases may be responsible for the generation of NPB-α2AP.

alpha-2-antiplasmin, epitope mapping, mass spectrometry, proteolysis, western blot,
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Department of Hematology

Abdul, S, Dekkers, D.H, Ariëns, R.A.S, Leebeek, F.W.G, Rijken, D.C, & Uitte De Willige, S. (2020). On the localization of the cleavage site in human alpha-2-antiplasmin, involved in the generation of the non-plasminogen binding form. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. doi:10.1111/jth.14761