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Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), the primary inhibitor of tissue-type plasminogen activator and urokinase, is known to convert readily to a latent form by insertion of the reactive center loop into a central β- sheet. Interaction with vitronectin stabilizes PAI-1 and decreases the rate of conversion to the latent form, but conformational effects of vitronectin on the reactive center loop of PAI-1 have not been documented. Mutant forms of PAI-1 were designed with a cysteine substitution at either position P1' or P9 of the reactive center loop. Labeling of the unique cysteine with a sulfhydryl-reactive fluorophore provides a probe that is sensitive to vitronectin binding. Results indicate that the scissile P1-P1' bond of PAI-1 is more solvent exposed upon interaction with vitronectin, whereas the N- terminal portion of the reactive loop does not experience a significant change in its environment. These results were complemented by labeling vitronectin with an arginine-specific coumarin probe which compromises heparin binding but does not interfere with PAI-1 binding to the protein. Dissociation constants of approximately 100 nM are calculated for the vitronectin/PAI-1 interaction from titrations using both fluorescent probes. Furthermore, experiments in which PAI-1 failed to compete with heparin for binding to vitronectin argue for separate binding sites for the two ligands on vitronectin.

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Journal of Biological Chemistry

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