Binding and Activation of Plasminogen on the Surface of Staphylococcus Aureus and Group A, C, and G Streptococci

  • Pentti Kuusela
  • Måns Ullberg
  • Göran Kronvall
  • Olli Saksela
Part of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies Symposium Series book series (FEMS, volume 61)


The native form of plasminogen, a single-chain glycoprotein with a molecular mass of 91 kDa, occurs in plasma and many tissue fluids. Characteristic features of its structure are five loops in the aminoterminal portion of the molecule. These so-called kringles contain lysine-binding sites involved in interactions of plasminogen with fibrin, plasmin inhibitors and eukaryotic cell surfaces. As in other serine proteases, the carboxyterminal portion of plasmin contains the enzymatically active site. Plasminogen is converted to plasmin by the action of eukaryotic activators such as urokinase (u-PA) and tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) as well as of prokaryotic activators staphylokinase and streptokinase. The action of eukaryotic activators is due to direct proteolysis of a single Arg-Val peptide bond. The formed plasmin is composed of two polypeptide chains (a 65-kDa A heavy chain and a 25-kDa B light chain) held together by two disulphide bonds (see Figure 1). Prokaryotic activators, which lack direct proteolytic activity, and plasminogen form a complex which converts plasminogen to plasmin (for reviews, see references 1 and 2). Plasmin is able to modify itself by cleaving a small 8-kDa activation peptide off the aminoterminus of the molecule, thus converting native glu-plasmin (glu = glutamic acid) to the lys-form (lys = lysine) (see Figure 1).


Plasminogen Activator Activation Peptide Plasminogen Activation Plasmin Activity Kringle Domain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pentti Kuusela
    • 1
  • Måns Ullberg
    • 3
  • Göran Kronvall
    • 3
  • Olli Saksela
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Bacteriology and ImmunologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of VirologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Department of Clinical MicrobiologyKarolinska HospitalStockholmSweden

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