Fibronectin (Fn) binds to fibrin in clots by covalent and non-covalent interactions. The N- and C-termini of Fn each contain one non-covalent fibrin-binding site, which are composed of type 1 (F1) structural repeats. We have previously localized the N-terminal site to the fourth and fifth F1 repeats (4F1.5F1). In the current studies, using proteolytic and recombinant proteins representing both the N- and C-terminal fibrin-binding regions, we localized and characterized the C-terminal fibrin-binding site, compared the relative fibrin-binding activities of both sites and determined the contribution of each site to the fibrin-binding activity of intact Fn. By fibrin-affinity chromatography, a protein composed of the 10F1 repeat through to the C-terminus of Fn (10F1–COOH), expressed in COS-1 cells, and 10F1–12F1, produced in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, displayed fibrin-binding activity. However, since 10F1 and 10F1.11F1 were not active, the presence of 12F1 is required for fibrin binding. A proteolytic fragment of 14.4 kDa, beginning 14 residues N-terminal to 10F1, was isolated from the fibrin-affinity matrix. Radio-iodinated 14.4 kDa fibrin-binding peptide/protein (FBP) demonstrated a dose-dependent and saturable binding to fibrin-coated wells that was both competitively inhibited and reversed by unlabelled 14.4 kDa FBP. Comparison of the fibrin-binding affinities of proteolytic FBPs from the N-terminus (25.9 kDa FBP), the C-terminus (14.4 kDa) and intact Fn by ELISA yielded estimated Kd values of 216, 18 and 2.1 nM, respectively. The higher fibrin-binding affinity of the N-terminus was substantiated by the ability of both a recombinant 4F1.5F1 and a monoclonal antibody (mAb) to this site to maximally inhibit biotinylated Fn binding to fibrin by 80%, and by blocking the 90% inhibitory activity of a polyclonal anti-Fn, by absorption with the 25.9 kDa FBP. We propose that whereas the N-terminal site appears to contribute to most of the binding activity of native Fn to fibrin, the specific binding of the C-terminal site may strengthen this interaction.

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