Optimal subsite occupancy and design of a selective inhibitor of urokinase

Song Hua Ke, Gary S. Coombs, Kathy Tachias, David R. Corey, Edwin L. Madison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Human urokinase type plasminogen activator (u-PA) is a member of the chymotrypsin family of serine proteases that can play important roles in both health and disease. We have used substrate phage display techniques to characterize the specificity of this enzyme in detail and to identify peptides that are cleaved 840-5300 times more efficiently by u-PA than peptides containing the physiological target sequence of the enzyme. In addition, unlike peptides containing the physiological target sequence, the peptide substrates selected in this study were cleaved as much as 120 times more efficiently by u-PA than by tissue type plasminogen activator (t-PA), an intimately related enzyme. Analysis of the selected peptide substrates strongly suggested that the primary sequence SGRSA, from position P3 to P2', represents optimal subsite occupancy for substrates of u-PA. Insights gained in these investigations were used to design a variant of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1, the primary physiological inhibitor of both u-PA and t-PA, that inhibited u-PA approximately 70 times more rapidly than it inhibited t-PA. These observations provide a solid foundation for the design of highly selective, high affinity inhibitors of u-PA and, consequently, may facilitate the development of novel therapeutic agents to inhibit the initiation and/or progression of selected human tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20456-20462
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 15 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimal subsite occupancy and design of a selective inhibitor of urokinase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this