Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Biotechnol. Mol. Biol. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1538-2273
  • DOI: 10.5897/BMBR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 103


Urokinase - A strong plasminogen activator

Adinarayana Kunamneni1, 2*, Bhavani Devi Ravuri1, Poluri Ellaiah1, Taadimalla Prabhakhar1 and Vinjamuri Saisha1
1Departamento de Biocatálisis, Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica, CSIC, C/ Marie Curie 2, Cantoblanco, 28049—Madrid, Spain. 2Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Division, University College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam - 530 003, India.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 27 May 2008
  •  Published: 30 June 2008


Urokinase (UK) is a serine protease, which specifically cleaves the proenzyme/zymogen plasminogen to form the active enzyme plasmin. It specifically catalyzes the cleavage of the Arg-Val bond in plasminogen. The active plasmin is then able to break down the fibrin polymers of blood clots. Clinically, UK is given to patients suffering from thrombolytic disorders. Among the plasminogen activators, UK provides a superior alternative for the simple reasons of its being more potent as compared to tissue-plasminogen activator and non-antigenic by virtue of its human origin unlike streptokinase. Based on these observations, UK is a strong plasminogen activator. Hence, UK, as one of the most potent plasminogen activators is attracting a great deal of attention. The mechanism of action, physico-chemical properties, in vitro production, cloning and expression, and clinical applications of UK are reviewed in this paper.


Key words: Urokinase (UK), plasminogen activators, fibrinolysis, strong plasminogen activator, production, cloning and expression, physico-chemical properties and clinical applications.