The importance of the preactivation peptide in the two-stage mechanism of human plasminogen activation.
The two stages in the activation of human plasminogen by urokinase have been examined kinetically in order to evaluate the significance of each stage in the activation process. The cleavage of the preactivation peptide from the NH2 terminus of native plasminogen (NH2-terminal glutamic acid) is clearly catalyzed by urokinase and is the rate-limiting first step in activation (Stage 1); this reaction is 20-fold slower than the conversion of the intermediate plasminogen (NH2-terminal lysine) to plasmin (Stage 2). Both lysine and its analogoue, epsilon-aminocaproic acid, exert two effects on the activation of native plasminogen. At low concentrations of these agents, activation is greatly accelerated. Analysis of activation in the presence and absence of these agents by sodium dodecyl sulfate gel electrophoresis indicates that the activation pathway is the same in both cases with the formation of a transient intermediate plasminogen; only the kinetics of proteolysis are altered. This enhancement in the rate of activation results solely from acceleration of the Stage 1 reaction; Stage 2 is essentially unaffected at low concentrations. Stage 1 is maximally enhanced (75-fold) at either 0.0025 M epsilon-aminocaproic acid or 0.025 M lysine and occurs 4 times more rapidly than Stage 2, which becomes the rate-limiting step at these concentrations. Plasmin also cleaves the preactivation peptide from native plasminogen and this reaction rate is enhanced by the same concentrations of lysine and epsilon-aminocaproic acid. These data suggest that lysine and epsilon-aminocaproic acid, which are known to bind to plasminogen and significantly alter its conformation, may thereby enhance preactivation peptide cleavage and consequently, plasminogen activation. At high concentrations, both Stages 1 and 2 are similarly inhibited by these agents, which suggests that this effect may be exerted by the direct inhibition of urokinase. The relative rates of preactivation peptide cleavage by the enzymes urokinase, plasmin, thrombin, and ancrod were also determined. Urokinase is 10 times more effective than plasmin in catalyzing this reaction and 1.8 X 10(4) times more effective than thrombin, while ancrod does not exert an effect. No plasmin is formed by either thrombin or ancrod.
Walther, PJ; Hill, RL; McKee, PA
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