Variabilin, a novel RGD-containing antagonist of glycoprotein IIb-IIIa and platelet aggregation inhibitor from the hard tick Dermacentor variabilis


A novel inhibitor of human platelet aggregation, named variabilin, was isolated from salivary glands of the hard tick Dermacentor variabilis using a combination of gel filtration and high pressure liquid chromatography. Variabilin was a potent antagonist of the fibrinogen receptor glycoprotein IIb-IIIa (GPIIb-IIIa; α(IIb)β3) and the vitronectin receptor α(v)β3. Amino acid sequence analysis by Edman degradation revealed that it has 47 residues, with a molecular weight of 4968.5. Like many other naturally occurring antagonists of GPIIb-IIIa, variabilin contains the RGD (Arg-Gly- Asp) motif. However, unlike the RGD-containing antagonists of GPIIb-IIIa, the RGD sequence of variabilin is not positioned in a loop bracketed by cysteine residues. It has little sequence homology to the other known naturally occurring antagonists of GPIIb-IIIa, including the disintegrins from snakes, decorsin and ornatin from leeches, and disagregin from soft ticks. Variabilin is the first RGD-containing antagonist isolated from ticks.

Publication Title

Journal of Biological Chemistry