Structural resiliency of an EGF-like subdomain bound to its target protein, thrombin

Protein Sci. 1996 Feb;5(2):195-203. doi: 10.1002/pro.5560050202.


The thrombin-bound structures of native peptide fragments from the fifth EGF-like domain of thrombomodulin were determined by use of NMR and transferred NOE spectroscopy. The bound peptides assume an EGF-like structure of an antiparallel beta-sheet, a novel structural motif observed for a bound peptide in protein-peptide complexes. There is a remarkable structural resiliency of this structure motif manifested in its ability to accommodate a different number of residues within the disulfide loop. Docking experiments revealed that the key contacts with thrombin are hydrophobic interactions between the side chains of residues Ile 414 and Ile 424 of thrombomodulin and a hydrophobic pocket on the thrombin surface. Residues Leu 415, Phe 419, and Ile 420, which would have been buried in intact EGF-like domains, are unfavorably exposed in the complex of thrombin with the EGF-like thrombomodulin fragment, thus providing a rationale for the enhancement of binding affinity upon the deletion of Ile 420. The unique beta-sheet structures of the bound peptides are specified by the presence of disulfide bridges in the peptides because a corresponding linear thrombomodulin fragment folds into a sheet structure with a different backbone topology. The different bound conformations for the linear and the cyclized peptides indicate that side-chain interactions within a specific environment may dictate the folding of bound peptides in protein-peptide complexes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cattle
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / chemistry*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Thrombin / metabolism*
  • Thrombomodulin / chemistry*
  • Thrombomodulin / metabolism


  • Thrombomodulin
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Thrombin