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Biochemistry. 1984 Jan 17;23(2):273-9.

Kinetics of activation and autoactivation of human factor XII.


The kinetics of the enzymic reactions that participate in the contact activation system of human plasma were examined. These reactions are potentiated by dextran sulfate, a negatively charged solute that mimics many of the effects of glass or kaolin on this system. The reactions of reciprocal activation, consisting of activation of factor XII by kallikrein and of prekallikrein by activated factor XII, follow Michaelis-Menten kinetics; values of kcat and Km for each of these reactions were determined in the presence of dextran sulfate and in its absence. In the presence of dextran sulfate, the catalytic efficiency for factor XII activation was increased 11 000-fold, and that for prekallikrein was increased 70-fold. Autoactivation of factor XII in the presence of dextran sulfate also follows Michaelis-Menten kinetics with kcat = 0.033 s-1 and Km = 7.5 microM. This finding supports the concept that autoactivation is an enzymic process, initiated by traces of activated factor XII which are invariably present in factor XII preparations. At prekallikrein and factor XII levels equal to those in plasma, reciprocal activation is approximately 2000-fold more rapid than autoactivation. Thus, reciprocal activation is the predominant mode of factor XII activation in normal plasma.

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