J. Biol. Chem., Vol. 266, Issue 8, 5273-5278, 03, 1991

Actin is a noncompetitive plasmin inhibitor

SE Lind and CJ Smith Hematology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Actin, one of the most abundant cellular proteins, circulates at micromolar concentrations in peripheral blood. Because actin released from dying cells may be trapped in fibrin clots that form at sites of tissue injury, we examined the effects of actin upon lysis of fibrin clots in vitro. Incorporation of native rabbit skeletal muscle actin into fibrin clots slowed their rates of lysis for periods of up to 24 h, an effect not seen when comparable concentrations of human IgG or bovine serum albumin were added instead. Actins isolated from a variety of sources inhibited plasmin's hydrolysis of the synthetic substrate S- 2251 in a noncompetitive manner, with a Ki of a 0.6-3.1 microM. Inhibition was rapid, but covalent actin-plasmin complexes were not formed. Both epsilon-aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid prevented actin's inhibition of plasmin, suggesting that accessible lysine residues of actin interact with the kringle (lysine-binding) regions of plasmin. Neither of the high-affinity actin-binding proteins of plasma (plasma gelsolin and vitamin D-binding protein) prevented actin from inhibiting plasmin. These findings suggest that actin released into the extracellular space following cell death may modulate plasmin action, and hence a number of plasmin-dependent biological responses, at sites of inflammation and tissue injury.