Activation of prothrombin to mature thrombin in vivo occurs by the proteolytic action of the prothrombinase complex consisting of serine proteinase factor Xa, and cofactors that include factor Va, Ca2+ ions and phospholipids. Several exogenous prothrombin activators are found in snake venom. Among these, Group C prothrombin activators resemble the factor Xa-factor Va complex, while Group D activators are structurally and functionally similar to factor Xa. This review provides a detailed description of current knowledge on Group D prothrombin activators and highlights the importance of studying this family of proteins in enhancing our understanding of structure-function relationships in the mammalian prothrombinase complex.
Keywords: snake venom, factor xa, prothrombinase complex, prothrombin activator, anticoagulant, blood clotting, serine proteinase, trocarin d, hopsarin d, notecarin d
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