J Biol Chem. 1985 Sep 5;260(19):10856-63.
We have recently demonstrated that human high molecular weight kininogen (HMWK) is a pro-cofactor that is cleaved by kallikrein to yield a two-chain cofactor (HMWKa) and the nanopeptide bradykinin. This proteolysis enhances its association with an activating surface, an event necessary for expression of its cofactor activity. We now report that factor XIa is capable of hydrolyzing HMWK and releasing bradykinin in a purified system as well as cleaving and inactivating HMWK in a plasma environment during the contact-activation process. The profile of proteolysis differs from that produced by kallikrein and by factor XIIa in that the first cleavage by factor XIa yields 75- and 45-kDa polypeptides, whereas both factor XIIa and kallikrein initially produce 65- and 56-kDa species. Further proteolysis by all three enzymes eventually produces similar heavy chains (Mr = 65,000) and light chains (Mr = 45,000). However, the amount of factor XIa generated in plasma during contact activation further degrades the light chain of HMWK, eventually destroying its coagulant activity. Furthermore, in a purified system, enhancement of the degradation of HMWK coagulant activity by factor XIa was achieved when kallikrein was included in the incubation mixture, suggesting that the preferred substrate for factor XIa is the active form of HMWK (HMWKa), and not the pro-cofactor. These data suggest that factor XIa has the potential to act as a regulator of contact-activated coagulation by virtue of its ability to destroy the cofactor function of HMWK after its generation by either kallikrein, factor XIIa, or to a lesser extent, factor XIa, itself.