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Biochem J. 1976 Dec 1;159(3):545-53.

The primary inhibitor of plasmin in human plasma.


A complex between plasmin and an inhibitor was isolated by affinity chromatography from urokinase-activated human plasma. The complex did not react with antibodies against any of the known proteinase inhibitors in plasma. A rabbit antiserum against the complex was produced. It contained antibodies agianst plasminogen+plasmin and an alpha2 protein. By crossed immunoelectrophoresis the alpha2 protein was shown to form a complex with plasmin, when generated by urokinase in plasma, and with purified plasmin. The alpha2 protein was eluted by Sephadex G-200 gel filtration with KD approx. 0.35, different from the other inhibitors of plasmin in plasma, and corresponding to an apparent relative molecular mass (Mr) of about 75000. By sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis, the Mr of the complex was found to be approx. 130000. After reduction of the complex two main bands of protein were observed, with Mr, about 72000 and 66000, probably representing an acyl-enzyme complex of plasmin-light chain and inhibitor-heavy chain, and a plasmin-heavy chain. A weak band with Mr 9000 was possibly an inhibitor-light chain. The inhibitor was partially purified and used to titrate purified plasmin of known active-site concentration. The inhibitor bound plasmin rapidly and strongly. Assuming an equimolar combining ratio, the concentration of active inhibitor in normal human plasma was estimated to be 1.1 mumol/1. A fraction about 0.3 of the antigenic inhibitor protein appeared to be functionally inactive. In plasma, plasmin is primarily bound to the inhibitor. Only after its saturation does lysis of fibrinogen and fibrin occur and a complex between plasmin and alpha2 macroglobulin appear.

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