Document Type


Publication Date



© 2017, The Author(s). Components of the fibrinolytic system are subjected to stringent control to maintain proper hemostasis. Central to this regulation is the serpin plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), which is responsible for specific and rapid inhibition of fibrinolytic proteases. Active PAI-1 is inherently unstable and readily converts to a latent, inactive form. The binding of vitronectin and other ligands influences stability of active PAI-1. Our laboratory recently observed reciprocal effects on the stability of active PAI-1 in the presence of transition metals, such as copper, depending on the whether vitronectin was also present (Thompson et al. Protein Sci 20:353–365, 2011). To better understand the molecular basis for these copper effects on PAI-1, we have developed a gel-based copper sensitivity assay that can be used to assess the copper concentrations that accelerate the conversion of active PAI-1 to a latent form. The copper sensitivity of wild-type PAI-1 was compared with variants lacking N-terminal histidine residues hypothesized to be involved in copper binding. In these PAI-1 variants, we observed significant differences in copper sensitivity, and these data were corroborated by latency conversion kinetics and thermodynamics of copper binding by isothermal titration calorimetry. These studies identified a copper-binding site involving histidines at positions 2 and 3 that confers a remarkable stabilization of PAI-1 beyond what is observed with vitronectin alone. A second site, independent from the two histidines, binds metal and increases the rate of the latency conversion.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry

First Page


Last Page