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Research Article

Cleavage of human high molecular weight kininogen markedly enhances its coagulant activity. Evidence that this molecule exists as a procofactor.

C F Scott, L D Silver, M Schapira and R W Colman

Published April 1984

High molecular weight kininogen (HMW)-kininogen, the cofactor of contact-activated blood coagulation, accelerates the activation of Factor XII, prekallikrein, and Factor XI on a negatively charged surface. Although prekallikrein and Factor XI circulate as a complex with HMW-kininogen, no physical association has been demonstrated between Factor XII and HMW-kininogen, nor has the order of adsorption to surfaces of these proteins been fully clarified. In this report we explore the requirements for adsorption of HMW-kininogen to a clot-promoting surface (kaolin), in purified systems, as well as in normal plasma and plasma genetically deficient in each of the proteins of the contact system. The fraction of each coagulant protein associated with the kaolin pellet was determined by measuring the difference in coagulant activity between the initial sample and supernatants after incubation with kaolin, or by directly quantifying the amount of 125I-HMW-kininogen that was associated with the kaolin pellet. In normal plasma, the adsorption of HMW-kininogen to kaolin increased as the quantity of kaolin was increased in the incubation mixture. However, the HMW-kininogen in Factor XII-deficient plasma did not absorb appreciably to kaolin. Furthermore, the quantity of HMW-kininogen from prekallikrein-deficient plasma that adsorbed to kaolin was decreased as compared with normal plasma. These observations suggested that HMW-kininogen in plasma must be altered by a reaction involving both Factor XII and prekallikrein in order for HMW-kininogen to adsorb to kaolin, and to express its coagulant activity. Subsequently, the consequence of the inability of HMW-kininogen to associate with a negatively charged surface results in decreased surface activation. This assessment was derived from the further observation of the lack of prekallikrein adsorption and the diminished Factor XI adsorption in both Factor XII-deficient and HMW-kininogen-deficient plasmas, since these two zymogens (prekallikrein and Factor XI) are transported to a negatively charged surface in complex with HMW-kininogen. The percentage of HMW-kininogen coagulant activity that adsorbed to kaolin closely correlated (r = 0.98, slope = 0.97) with the amount of 125I-HMW-kininogen adsorbed, suggesting that adsorption of HMW-kininogen results in the expression of its coagulant activity. Since kallikrein, which is known to cleave HMW-kininogen, is generated when kaolin is added to plasma, we tested the hypothesis that proteolysis by kallikrein was responsible for the enhanced adsorption of HMW-kininogen to kaolin. When purified HMW-kininogen was incubated with purified kallikrein, its ability to absorb to kaolin increased with time of digestion until a maximum was reached. Moreover, (125)I-HMW-kininogen, after cleavage by kallikrein, had markedly increased affinity for kaolin than the uncleaved starting material. Furthermore, fibrinogen, at plasma concentration (3 mg/ml), markedly curtailed the adsorption of a mixture of cleaved and uncleaved HMW-kininogen to kaolin, but was unable to prevent fully cleaved HMW-kininogen from adsorbing to the kaolin. Addition of purified kallikrein to Factor XII-deficient plasma, which bypasses Factor XII-dependent contact-activation amplified the ability of its HMW-kininogen to adsorb to kaolin. These observations indicate that HMW-kininogen is a procofactor that is activated by kallikrein, a product of a reaction which it accelerates. This cleavage, which enhances its association with a clot-promoting surface in a plasma environment, is an event that is necessary for expression of its cofactor activity. These interactions would allow coordination of HMW-kininogen adsorption with the adsorption of Factor XII, which adsorbs independently of cleavage, to the same negatively charged surface.

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