Conformational changes of the reactive-centre loop and beta-strand 5A accompany temperature-dependent inhibitor-substrate transition of plasminogen-activator inhibitor 1

L Kjøller, P M Martensen, L Sottrup-Jensen, J Justesen, K W Rodenburg, P A Andreasen

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We have studied conformational changes of type-1 plasminogen-activator inhibitor (PAI-1) during a temperature-dependent inhibitor-substrate transition by measuring susceptibility of the molecule to non-target proteinases. When incubated at 0 degree C instead of the normally used 37 degrees C, a tenfold decrease in the specific inhibitory activity of active PAI-1 was observed. Accordingly, PAI-1 was recovered in a reactive-centre-cleaved form from incubations with urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) at 0 degree C, but not at 37 degrees C. It thus behaved as a substrate for the target proteinases at the lower temperature. Active PAI-1 was exposed to a variety of non-target proteinases, including elastase, papain, thermolysin, trypsin, and V8 proteinase. It was found that specific peptide bonds in the reactive centre loop (RCL) and strand 5 in beta-sheet A (s5A) had a temperature-dependent proteolytic susceptibility, while the P17-P16 (E332-S333) bond, forming the hinge between s5A and the RCL, showed indistinguishable susceptibility to proteolysis by V8 proteinase at 0 degree and 37 degrees C. In latent and reactive-centre-cleaved PAI-1, all the bonds were resistant to proteolysis at the higher as well as the lower temperature. An anti-PAI-1 monoclonal antibody maintained the inhibitory activity of PAI-1 and prevented reactive centre cleavage at 0 degree C, and thus prevented substrate behaviour. Concomitantly, it caused specific changes in proteolytic susceptibility of s5A and the RCL, but it did not affect cleavage of the P17-P16 bond by V8 proteinase. Our observations suggest that temperature-dependent conformational changes of beta-sheet A and the RCL determine whether the serpin act as an inhibitor or a substrate. Furthermore they suggest that the RCL of PAI-1 is fully extracted from beta-sheet A in the inhibitory as well as in the substrate form, favoring a so-called induced conformational state model to explain why inhibitory activity requires partial insertion of the RCL into beta-sheet A.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1996


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology
  • Binding Sites
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Endopeptidases/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1/chemistry
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Recombinant Proteins/genetics
  • Temperature
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator/metabolism
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator/metabolism


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