(Science: enzyme) protease (34 kD) generated in blood clotting that acts on fibrinogen to produce fibrin. Consists of two chains, A and B, linked by a disulphide bond. B chain has sequence homology with pancreatic serine proteases: cleaves at arg gly.

Thrombin is produced from prothrombin by the action either of the extrinsic system (tissue factor _ phospholipid) or, more importantly, the intrinsic system (contact of blood with a foreign surface or connective tissue). Both extrinsic and intrinsic systems activate plasma factor X to form factor Xa which then, in conjunction with phospholipid (tissue derived or platelet factor 3) and factor V, catalyses the conversion.

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