Treatment of cultured bovine carotid artery endothelial cells with 10-7 M plasmin increased arachidonate release coupled with the increase in prostacyclin production. The stimulatory effect of plasmin on arachidonate release could be divided into the early and late phases according to its calcium dependency and pertussis toxin sensitivity. The early phase of plasmin-induced arachidonate release was a calcium-dependent and pertussis toxin-sensitive response, which was observed within 20 min after plasmin treatment. The late phase was a calcium-independent and pertussis toxin- insensitive response, which was induced gradually from 20 to 60 min. Induction of the early phase of plasmin's effect required both the lysine binding and catalytic sites in plasmin molecule because it was inhibited either by the binding antagonist tranexamic acid or by the serine protease inhibitor aprotinin. Guanosine 5'-O-(2-thiotriphosphate) potentiated the effect of plasmin in permeabilized or nonpermeabilized cells, indicating that the early phase effect was mediated by a pertussis toxin-sensitive guanosine 5'-triphosphate (GTP)-binding protein. The late phase of plasmin's effect was due to the catalytic activity because it was inhibited by aprotinin but not by tranexamic acid. Microplasmin structurally having the catalytic sites induced a similar late phase effect. Plasmin did not elicit the metabolism of phosphatidyl polyphosphoinositides. These studies demonstrate that the activation of phospholipase A2, which results in arachidonate release, in the early phase of plasmin's effect is a receptor-mediation via GTP-binding protein that is not coupled through phospholipase C activation.
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