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© 2016 American Chemical Society. Plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) regulates the fibrinolysis pathway by inhibiting the protease activity of plasminogen activators. PAI-1 works in concert with vitronectin (VN), an extracellular protein that aids in localization of active PAI-1 to tissues. The Peterson laboratory demonstrated that Cu(II) and other transition metals modulate the stability of PAI-1, exhibiting effects that are dependent on the presence or absence of the somatomedin B (SMB) domain of VN. The study presented here dissects the changes in molecular dynamics underlying the destabilizing effects of Cu(II) on PAI-1. We utilize backbone amide hydrogen/deuterium exchange monitored by mass spectrometry to assess PAI-1 dynamics in the presence and absence of Cu(II) ions with and without the SMB domain of VN. We show that Cu(II) produces an increase in dynamics in regions important for the function and overall stability of PAI-1, while the SMB domain elicits virtually the opposite effect. A mutant form of PAI-1 lacking two N-terminal histidine residues at positions 2 and 3 exhibits similar increases in dynamics upon Cu(II) binding compared to that of active wild-type PAI-1, indicating that the observed structural effects are not a result of coordination of Cu(II) to these histidine residues. Finally, addition of Cu(II) results in an acceleration of the local unfolding kinetics of PAI-1 presumed to be on pathway to the latency conversion. The effect of ligands on the dynamics of PAI-1 adds another intriguing dimension to the mechanisms for regulation of PAI-1 stability and function.

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