Research

Our research builds upon 30+ years of continuously funded work on the enzymology and structural biology of proteins involved in blood coagulation and on mechanisms of ligand binding.

We are interested in the structural enzymology of proteins responsible for blood coagulation, with the goal of unraveling the molecular architecture and mechanism of the underlying interactions. Our approach uses a combination of conventional (rapid kinetics, protein engineering, X-ray crystallography) and innovative (smFRET, cryo-EM) biophysical techniques.

We currently focus on the interaction of prothrombin with prothrombinase, leading to generation of thrombin and blood clotting, the activation of factor V required for assembly of prothrombinase and the interaction of the thrombin-thrombomodulin complex with protein C that halts the coagulation response. Current studies also focus on factor V short and its interactions with TFPIalpha, protein S and factor Xa. Emerging interests include proteins of the contact pathway like factors IX, XI and XII.

Ongoing Research

  1. Structure and dynamics of prothrombin (HL049413)
  2. Structural enzymology of protein C (HL139554)
  3. Structural enzymology of factor V activation (HL147821)

Video showing the complex of prothrombin (yellow), fVa (green), and fXa (red).

Read more about the Di Cera Lab’s plenary paper in Blood here: Blood 2022.

Selected Recent Publications

Stojanovski BM, Pelc LA and Di Cera E. Thrombin has dual trypsin-like and chymotrypsin-like specificity. (2023) J Thromb Haemost. Pubmed J Thromb Haemost
Mohammed BM, Basore K, Summers B, Pelc LA and Di Cera E. Structural architecture of the acidic region of the B domain of coagulation factor V. (2023) J Thromb Haemost. Pubmed J Thromb Haemost
Di Cera E. Pass the 12-LOX!. (2023) Blood. 142, 1180-1181 Pubmed Blood PMC Article
Stojanovski BM and Di Cera E. Monitoring prothrombin activation in plasma through loss of Förster resonance energy transfer. (2023) J Thromb Haemost. 21, 1769-1778 Pubmed J Thromb Haemost
Mohammed BM, Pelc LA, Rau MJ and Di Cera E. Cryo-EM structure of coagulation factor V short. (2023) Blood. 141, 3215-3225 Pubmed Blood PMC Article
Stojanovski BM and Di Cera E. Comparative sequence analysis of vitamin K-dependent coagulation factors. (2022) J Thromb Haemost. 20, 2837-2849 Pubmed J Thromb Haemost PMC Article
Di Cera E, Mohammed BM, Pelc LA and Stojanovski BM. Cryo-EM structures of coagulation factors. (2022) Res Pract Thromb Haemost. 6, e12830 Pubmed Res Pract Thromb Haemost PMC Article
Eissenberg JC, Jacobs CK and Di Cera E. The Second Century of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. (2023) Mo Med. 120, 351-353 Pubmed Mo Med PMC Article

Complete Bibliography via PubMed: Di Cera E