Analysis of thiolester bond cleavage-dependent conformational changes in binary alpha 2-macroglobulin-proteinase complexes.
The structures of the two proteinase-binding sites in human alpha 2-macroglobulin (alpha 2M) were probed by treatment of alpha 2M with the serine proteinases thrombin and plasmin. Each proteinase forms an equimolar complex with alpha 2M (a binary alpha 2M-proteinase complex) which results in the activation and cleavage of two internal thiolester bonds in alpha 2M. Binary alpha 2M-proteinase complexes demonstrated an incomplete conformational change as determined by nondenaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and incomplete receptor recognition site exposure as determined by in vivo plasma elimination studies. Treatment of binary alpha 2M-proteinase complexes with CH3NH2, trypsin, or elastase resulted in cleavage of an additional one or two thiolester bonds in alpha 2M and complete receptor recognition site exposure, demonstrating that a limited conformational change had occurred. Treatment of the alpha 2M-thrombin complex with elastase resulted in the incorporation of approximately 0.5 mol proteinase/mol alpha 2M and completion of the conformational change in the complex. Similar treatment of the alpha 2M-plasmin complex resulted in the incorporation of less than 0.1 mol proteinase/mol alpha 2M. Unlike the alpha 2M-thrombin complex, the alpha 2M-plasmin complex did not undergo a complete conformational change following treatment with CH3NH2 or trypsin. Incubation of this complex with elastase resulted in proteolysis of the kringle 1-4 region of the alpha 2M-bound plasmin heavy chain, and following this treatment the alpha 2M-plasmin complex underwent a complete conformational change. The results of this investigation demonstrate that binary alpha 2M-proteinase complexes retain a relatively intact proteinase-binding site. In the case of the alpha 2M-plasmin complex, however, the heavy chain of alpha 2M-bound plasmin protrudes from the proteinase-binding site and prevents a complete conformational change in the complex despite additional thiolester bond cleavage.
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