Journal of Biological Chemistry vol:261 issue:3 pages:1259-66
The kinetics of the activation of plasminogen by recombinant pro-urokinase obtained by expression of human urokinase cDNA in Escherichia coli was studied. The conversion of pro-urokinase (U) and plasminogen (P) to urokinase (u) and plasmin (p) is represented by a sequence of three reactions which each obey Michaelis-Menten kinetics, i.e. (Formula: see text). In this model, pro-urokinase formally behaves as an enzyme in Reaction I and as a substrate in reaction II. The experimentally measured overall rates of formation of urokinase and plasmin are in good agreement with those calculated from the kinetic parameters and the initial concentrations of pro-urokinase and plasminogen, confirming the validity of the model. It appears that recombinant pro-urokinase is an equally potent activator of plasminogen (k2/Km = 0.05 microM-1 s-1), as in urokinase (k"2/K"m = 0.02 microM-1 s-1). This is due to the fact that the proenzyme, which is virtually inactive toward low Mr substrates for urokinase, forms an intermediate of the Michaelis-Menten type with plasminogen, with a much higher affinity than that of the active enzyme with its substrate. This is an exceptional phenomenon among the serine proteases.