Regulation of macrophage receptor-bound plasmin by autoproteolysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Biological Chemistry






The activation of plasminogen by macrophage is regulated by their expression of receptors for urokinase and plasmin(ogen). In these studies we have examined plasmin(ogen) binding to adherent human THP-1 macrophage. Plasmin bound to the THP-1 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner (K(d) 15.8 ± 6.2 nM; B(max) 1.4 ± 0.3 x 106/cell). The lysine analog ε- aminocaproic acid competitively inhibited plasmin binding. The fraction of membrane-bound plasmin, however, became increasingly resistant to displacement with ε-aminocaproic acid. Over a 24-h period, membrane-bound plasmin activity fell 80% despite the presence of catalytically active plasmin in the incubation media. The loss of receptor-bound plasmin activity was not due to proteolytic alterations of its receptor since 125I-Lys- plasminogen bound to THP-1 cells pretreated with plasmin with similar affinity as to untreated cells. Following a 24-h incubation of 125I-Lys- plasminogen or 125I-plasmin with THP-1 cells, several degradative fragments were apparent in their conditioned media. The smaller degradative fragments (28 and 36 kDa) lacked cell binding activity and were demonstrated to be active by casein-zymography. A 48-kDa fragment bound to cells in a lysine-dependent manner but was not active. In contrast, phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride-inactivated 125I-plasmin retained its binding activity over 24 h, and degradative fragments were not present in the conditioned media. The binding of 125I-Lys-plasmin(ogen) to THP-1 cells was also examined in the presence of excess α2 plasmin inhibitor. Despite the absence of fluid-phase plasmin activity, membrane-bound 125I-Lys-plasmin(ogen) decreased over 24 h. At 24 h a radiolabeled 48-kDa fragment was observed in the conditioned media and together with 125I-Lys-plasmin(ogen) was bound to cells. Unlike 125I-Lys-plasmin, the 48-kDa fragment did not form a complex with α2 plasmin inhibitor. Thus, autoproteolysis of receptor-bound plasmin results in fragments with truncated physiologic properties that possess either cell binding or catalytic activities. We propose that autoproteolysis is a mecha- nism for regulating membrane-bound plasmin activity.

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