uPA-mediated plasminogen activation is enhanced by polyphosphate

Claire S Whyte, Nicola J Mutch* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and urokinase (uPA) differ in their modes of action. Efficient tPA-mediated plasminogen activation requires binding to fibrin. In contrast, uPA is fibrin independent and activates plasminogen in solution or when associated with its cellular receptor uPAR. We have previously shown that polyphosphate (polyP), alters fibrin structure and attenuates tPA and plasminogen binding to fibrin, thereby down-regulating fibrinolysis. Here we investigate the impact of polyP on uPA-mediated fibrinolysis. As previously reported polyP of an average chain length of 65 (polyP65) delays tPA-mediated fibrinolysis. The rate of plasmin generation was also delayed and reduced 1.6-fold in polyP65-containing clots (0.74 ± 0.06 vs. 1.17 ± 0.14 pM/s in P < 0.05). Analysis of tPA-mediated fibrinolysis in real-time by confocal microscopy was significantly slower in polyP65-containing clots. In marked contrast, polyP65 augmented the rate of uPA-mediated plasmin generation 4.7-fold (3.96 ± 0.34 vs. 0.84 ± 0.08 pM/s; P < 0.001) and accelerated fibrinolysis (t1/2 64.5 ± 1.7 min vs. 108.2 ± 3.8 min; P < 0.001). Analysis of lysis in real-time confirmed that polyP65 enhanced uPA-mediated fibrinolysis. Varying the plasminogen concentration (0.125 to 1 µM) in clots dose-dependently enhanced uPA-mediated fibrinolysis, while negligible changes were observed on tPA-mediated fibrinolysis. The accelerating effect of polyP65 on uPA-mediated fibrinolysis was overcome by additional plasminogen, while the down-regulation of tPA-mediated lysis and plasmin generation was largely unaffected. PolyP65 exerts opposing effects on tPA- and uPA-mediated fibrinolysis, attenuating the fibrin cofactor function in tPA-mediated plasminogen activation. In contrast, polyP may facilitate the interaction between fibrin-independent uPA and plasminogen thereby accelerating plasmin generation and downstream fibrinolysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-531
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Early online date6 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding This research was supported by grants FS/11/2/28579 (NJM) and PG/11/1/28461 (NJM, CSW) from the British Heart Foundation.


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