Factor VIIa (FVIIa) is a key serine protease involved in the initiation of the coagulation cascade. It is a glycosylated disulfide-linked heterodimer comprised of an amino-terminal ?-carboxyglutamic acid-rich (Gla) domain and two epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domains in the light chain, and a chymotrypsin-like serine protease domain in the heavy chain. FVIIa requires tissue factor (TF), a membrane bound protein, as an essential cofactor for maximal activity towards its biological substrates Factor X, Factor IX and Factor VII (FVII). Inhibition of TF • FVIIa activity may prevent the formation of fibrin clots and thus be useful in the management of thrombotic disease. The development of TF • FVIIa inhibitors to validate this target has been of great interest. A wide array of strategic approaches to inhibiting the biochemical and biological functions of the TF • FVIIa complex has been pursued. This has been greatly aided from our understanding of the structures for TF, FVII, FVIIa, and the TF • FVIIa complex. These approaches have resulted in inhibitors directed specifically towards either FVIIa or TF. Antagonists include active site inhibited FVIIa, TF mutants, anti-TF antibodies, anti-FVII / FVIIa antibodies, naturally-occurring protein inhibitors, peptide exosite inhibitors, and protein and small molecule active site inhibitors. These antagonists can inhibit catalysis directly at the active site as well as impair function by binding to exosites that may interfere with substrate, membrane, or cofactor binding. The rationale of TF • FVIIa as a target and the development, characteristics and biological uses of TF • FVIIa inhibitors are discussed.
Keywords: tissue factor, coagulation factor vIIa, anticoagulant, enzyme inhibitor, serine protease, cofactor, hemostasis, thrombosis
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