Antithrombin: in control of coagulation Academic Article uri icon


  • Antithrombin is a serine proteinase inhibitor (serpin) which controls the process of coagulation. It has a well defined structure, consisting of three beta-sheets, nine alpha-helices and a reactive centre loop (RCL). The RCL contains the reactive centre which harbours a bait sequence for target proteases; cleavage results in inhibition by a unique mechanism. The inhibitory activity of antithrombin is controlled by its interaction with the co-factor, heparin, which accelerates its interaction with target proteases. This ensures that heparin and its newer derivatives, such as heparin pentasaccharide, are the mainstay therapeutics for control of thrombosis or inappropriate clotting. The clinical importance of antithrombin is manifested by its clear association with thrombosis when deficiency states occur.


  • Quinsey, Noelene S
  • Greedy, Ainslie L
  • Bottomley, Stephen P
  • Whisstock, James C
  • Pike, Robert N

publication date

  • March 2004