Published by Springer-Verlag on behalf of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies
European Journal of Biochemistry vol:177 issue:3 pages:575-82
Single-chain urokinase-type plasminogen activator (scu-PA) is converted to urokinase by hydrolysis of the Lys158-Ile159 peptide bond. Site-directed mutagenesis of Lys158 to Gly or Glu yields plasmin-resistant mutants with a 10-20-fold reduced catalytic efficiency for the activation of plasminogen [Nelles et al. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 5682-5689]. In the present study, we have further evaluated the enzymatic properties of derivatives of recombinant scu-PA (rscu-PA), produced by site-directed mutagenesis of Lys158, Ile159 or Ile160, in order to obtain additional information on the structure/function relations underlying the enzymatic properties of the single- and two-chain u-PA moieties. [Arg158]rscu-PA (rscu-PA with Lys158 substituted with Arg) appeared to be indistinguishable from wild-type rscu-PA with respect to plasminogen-activating potential (catalytic efficiency k2/Km = 0.21 mM-1 s-1 versus 0.64 mM-1 s-1), conversion to active two-chain urokinase by plasmin (k2/Km = 0.13 microM-1 s-1 versus 0.28 microM-1 s-1), as well as its specific activity (48,000 IU/mg as compared to 60,000 IU/mg) and its fibrinolytic potential in a plasma medium (50% lysis in 2 h with 2.8 micrograms/ml versus 2.1 micrograms/ml). [Pro159]rscu-PA (Ile159 substituted with Pro) and [Gly159]rscu-PA (Ile159 converted to Gly) are virtually inactive towards plasminogen (k2/Km less than 0.004 mM-1 s-1). They are however converted to inactive two-chain derivatives by plasmin following cleavage of the Arg156-Phe157 peptide bond in [Pro159]rscu-PA and of the Lys158-Gly159 peptide bond in [Gly159]rscu-PA. [Gly158,Lys160]rscu-PA (with Lys158 converted to Gly and Ile160 to Lys) has a low catalytic efficiency towards plasminogen both as a single-chain form (k2/Km = 0.012 mM-1 s-1) and as the two-chain derivative (k2/Km = 0.13 mM-1 s-1) generated by cleavage of both the Arg156-Phe157 and/or the Lys160-Gly161 peptide bonds by plasmin. These findings suggest that the enzymatic properties of rscu-PA are critically dependent on the amino acids in position 158 (requirement for Arg or Lys) and position 159 (requirement for Ile). Conversion of the basic amino acid in position 158 results in a 10-20-fold reduction of the catalytic efficiency of the single-chain molecule but yields a fully active two-chain derivative. The presence of Ile in position 159 is not only a primary determinant for the activity of the two-chain derivative, but also of the single-chain precursor. Cleavage of the Arg156-Phe157 or the Lys160-Gly161 peptide bonds by plasmin yields inactive two-chain derivatives.