Alpha-1-antitrypsin-Pittsburgh is a human variant that resulted from a point mutation in the plasma protease inhibitor, alpha 1-antitrypsin (358 Met—-Arg). This defect in the alpha 1-antitrypsin molecule causes it to have greatly diminished anti-elastase activity but markedly increased antithrombin activity. In this report, we demonstrate that this variant protein also has greatly increased inhibitory activity towards the arginine-specific enzymes of the contact system of plasma proteolysis (Factor XIa, kallikrein, and Factor XIIf), in contrast to normal alpha 1-antitrypsin, which has modest to no inhibitory activity towards these enzymes. We determined the second-order-inactivation rate constant (k”) of purified, human Factor XIa by purified alpha 1-antitrypsin-Pittsburgh and found it to be 5.1 X 10(5) M-1 s-1 (23 degrees C), which is a 7,700-fold increase over the k” for Factor XIa by its major inhibitor, normal purified alpha 1-antitrypsin (i.e., 6.6 X 10(1) M-1 s-1). Human plasma kallikrein, which is poorly inhibited by alpha 1-antitrypsin (k” = 4.2 M-1 s-1), exhibited a k” for alpha 1-antitrypsin-Pittsburgh of 8.9 X 10(4) M-1 s-1 (a 21,000-fold increase), making it a more efficient inhibitor than either of the naturally occurring major inhibitors of kallikrein (C-1-inhibitor and alpha 2-macroglobulin). Factor XIIf, which is not inhibited by normal alpha 1-antitrypsin, displayed a k” for alpha 1-antitrypsin-Pittsburgh of 2.5 X 10(4) M-1 s-1. This enhanced inhibitory activity is similar to the effect of alpha 1-antitrypsin-Pittsburgh that has been reported for thrombin. In addition to its potential as an anticoagulant, this recently cloned protein may prove to be clinically valuable in the management of septic shock, hereditary angioedema, or other syndromes involving activation of the surface-mediated plasma proteolytic system.
Available online at: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/112346