Interaction of single-chain urokinase-type plasminogen activator with human endothelial cells

E. S. Barnathan, A. Kuo, L. Rosenfeld, K. Kariko, M. Leski, F. Robbiati, M. L. Nolli, J. Henkin, D. B. Cines

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89 Scopus citations


The interaction of urokinase-type plasminogen activators with receptors on the surface of endothelial cells may play an important role in the regulation of fibrinolysis and cell migration. Therefore, we investigated whether human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) express receptors for single-chain urokinase (scu-PA) on the cell surface and examined the effect of such binding on plasminogen activator activity. Binding of 125I-labeled scu-PA to HUVEC, performed at 4°C, was saturable, reversible, and specific (k+1 4 ± 1 X 106 min-1 M-1, k-1 6.2 ± 1.4 X 10-3 min-1, K(d) 2.8 ± 0.1 nM; B(max) 2.2 ± 0.1 X 105 sites/cell; mean ± S.E.). Binding of radiolabeled scu-PA was inhibited by both natural and recombinant wild-type scu-PA, high molecular weight two-chain u-PA (tcu-PA), catalytic site-inactivated tcu-PA, an amino-terminal fragment of u-PA (amino acids 1-143), and a smaller peptide (amino acids 4-42) corresponding primarily to the epidermal growth factor-like domain. Binding was not inhibited by low molecular weight urokinase or by a recombinant scu-PA missing amino acids 9-45. Cell-bound scu-PA migrated at its native molecular mass on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. In the presence of plasminogen, scu-PA bound to endothelial cells generated greater plasmin activity than did scu-PA in the absence of cells. In contrast, when tcu-PA was added directly to HUVEC, sodium dodecyl sulfate-stable complexes formed with cell or matrix-associated plasminogen activator inhibitors with a loss of plasminogen activator activity. These studies suggest that endothelial cells in culture express high affinity binding sites for the epidermal growth factor domain of scu-PA. Interaction of scu-PA with these receptors may permit plasminogen activator activity to be expressed at discrete sites on the endothelial cell membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2865-2872
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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