The kinetics of plasminogen activation by thrombin-cleaved pro-urokinase and promotion of its activity by fibrin fragment E-2 and by tissue plasminogen activator.

PMID 8428004


Thrombin hydrolyzes the Arg156-Phe157 bond in pro-urokinase (pro-UK), two residues from the activation site, generating a two-chain form (thromb-UK) believed to have little activity and that is resistant to plasmin activation. The kinetic constants for thromb-UK against synthetic substrate (S2444) were found to be essentially identical to pro-UK. Against native plasminogen, thromb-UK had a lower Michaelis constant (KM) and a higher (2-fold) catalytic efficiency. However, this difference with pro-UK was nullified by carboxypeptidase B (CpB) treatment of thromb-UK to remove the C-terminal arginine on the A-chain. Plasminogen activation by thromb-UK was substantially promoted by fibrin fragment E-2 but not by other fibrin derivatives, a phenomenon previously observed with pro-UK. Similarly, clot lysis by thromb-UK was promoted by tissue plasminogen activator because their combined effect was synergistic. Fibrinogenolysis in plasma occurred at 80-fold the concentration of thromb-UK as pro-UK, reflecting the 90-fold greater plasmin resistance of thromb-UK. Addition of a CpB inhibitor to the plasma enhanced fibrinogenolysis by thromb-UK and pro-UK by approximately 16%, consistent with the promotion of both forms by certain C-terminal lysines. In conclusion, CpB-thromb-UK corresponds functionally to a plasmin resistant form of pro-UK, indicating that the catalytic site of the single-chain pro-UK is unaffected by thrombin cleavage. The effect of CpB indicates that the C-terminal Arg of thromb-UK slightly enhances its affinity for plasminogen. Thromb-UK has potential plasminogen-activating activity at surfaces where C-terminal lysines, functionally comparable to fragment E-2, are found.