Folding autonomy of the kringle 4 fragment of human plasminogen.

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Kringle 4, an 88-residue plasminogen fragment carrying a lysine-binding site, loses its affinity for lysine-Sepharose upon reductive cleavage of its disulfide bridges. Aerobic incubation of the reduced, denatured fragment results in the rapid restoration of the disulfide bonds with concomitant recovery of lysine-Sepharose affinity. The ability of the unfolded fragment to regain its native conformation suggests that the kringle structure is an autonomous folding domain. During refolding of kringle 4 the native disulfide bonds, (formula; see text) and (formula; see text), appears first. The folding intermediate possessing these two disulfide bridges already binds to lysine-Sepharose, indicating that the third native bridge, which in native kringle 4 connects residues Cys1 and Cys79, is not essential for the maintenance of the biologically active conformation of kringle 4. Comparison of the sequences of human prothrombin, urokinase, and plasminogen kringles revealed that the residues surrounding the (formula; see text) and (formula; see text) bridges constitute the most conservative segments of kringles, whereas the residues neighboring the (formula; see text) bridge are not highly conserved. We propose that conservation of various residues in the different kringles reflects their importance for the folding autonomy of kringles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2457-2461
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 1983


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