End-Point Immobilization of Recombinant Thrombomodulin via Sortase-Mediated Ligation

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Bioconjugate Chemistry


We report an enzymatic end-point modification and immobilization of recombinant human thrombomodulin (TM), a cofactor for activation of anticoagulant protein C
pathway via thrombin. First, a truncated TM mutant consisting of epidermal growth factor-like domains 4−6 (TM456) with a conserved pentapeptide LPETG motif at its C-terminal was expressed and purified in E. coli. Next, the truncated TM456 derivative was site-specifically modified with N-terminal diglycine containing molecules such as biotin and the fluorescent probe dansyl via sortase A (SrtA) mediated ligation (SML). The successful ligations were confirmed by SDS−PAGE and fluorescence imaging. Finally, the truncated TM456 was immobilized onto an N-terminal diglycine-functionalized glass slide surface via SML directly. Alternatively, the truncated TM456 was biotinylated via SML and then immobilized onto a streptavidin-functionalized glass slide surface indirectly. The successful immobilizations were confirmed by fluorescence imaging. The bioactivity of the immobilized truncated TM456 was further confirmed by protein C activation assay, in which enhanced activation of protein C by immobilized recombinant TM was observed. The sortase A-catalyzed surface ligation took place under mild conditions and occurs rapidly in a single step without prior chemical modification of the target protein. This site-specific covalent modification leads to molecules being arranged in a definitively ordered fashion and facilitating the preservation of the protein’s biological activity.


This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant 1R01HL102604-2 and Ohio Research Scholar Program and

National Science Foundation MRI Grant (CHE-1126384).