The hirudin-like factors HLF3 and HLF4-hidden hirudins of European medicinal leeches.Parasitol Res. 2020 Jun; 119(6):1767-1775.PR
The hirudin-like factors 3 (HLF3) and 4 (HLF4) belong to a new class of leech-derived factors and are present in specimens of the three European medicinal leeches, Hirudo medicinalis, Hirudo verbana, and Hirudo orientalis, respectively. Here we describe the functional analysis of natural and synthetic variants of HLF3 and HLF4. Whereas the natural variants display only very low or no detectable anti-coagulatory activities, modifications within the N-termini in combination with an exchange of the central globular domain have the potency to greatly enhance the inhibitory effects of respective HLF3 and HLF4 variants on blood coagulation. Our results support previous observations on the crucial importance of all parts (both the N- and C-termini as well as the central globular domains) of hirudin and HLF molecules for thrombin inhibition.