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FEBS Lett. 1997 Sep; 415(2): 192-5.

Identification of positively charged residues contributing to the stability of plasminogen activator inhibitor 1.

Gils A, Lu J, Aertgeerts K, Knockaert I, Declerck PJ.

Laboratory for Pharmaceutical Biology and Phytopharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1), a member of the serpins, has a unique conformational flexibility. A typical characteristic is its intrinsic lability resulting in the conversion of the active conformation to a latent conformation. In the present study, we have evaluated the effect of substitution of positively charged residues located at the turn connecting strand s4C with strand s3C, either with negatively charged or with neutral residues, on the functional stability of PAI-1. The following mutants were constructed, purified and characterized in comparison to wild-type (wt) PAI-1: PAI-1-R186E,R187E (Arg186--> Glu and Arg187--> Glu), PAI-1-H190E,K191E (His190--> Glu and Lys191--> Glu) and PAI-1-H190L,K191L (His190--> Leu and Lys191--> Leu). In contrast to wtPAI-1 the mutants exhibited no inhibitory activity. Whereas latent wtPAI-1 can be reactivated (up to a specific activity of 78+/-19%) by treatment with guanidinium chloride, a similar treatment applied to these mutants resulted in a significant but relatively small increase of specific activity (i.e. to 14%). Evaluation of the functional stability (at 37 degrees C, pH 5.5, 1 M NaCl revealed a strongly decreased functional stability compared to wtPAI-1 (i.e. 3-9 h for the mutants vs. > 24 h for wtPAI-1). Further characterization by heat denaturation studies and plasmin susceptibility confirmed that removal or reversal of the positive charge on the turn connecting s4C with s3C results in PAI-1 mutants with a highly accelerated conversion of active to latent forms. We can therefore conclude that the pronounced positive charge in the turn connecting s4C with s3C is of the highest importance for the functional stability of PAI-1.

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