Hookworms of the genus Ancylostoma secrete an anticoagulant that both inhibits the clotting of human plasma and promotes fibrin clot dissolution. This anticoagulant activity is attributable to a 36,000 dalton proteolytic enzyme. The protease can degrade fibrinogen into five smaller polypeptides that intrinsically have anticoagulating properties, covert plasminogen to a mini-plasminogen-like molecule, and hydrolyze a synthetic peptide substrate with specificity for elastolytic enzymes. It is hypothesized that the parasite uses this enzyme to prevent blood clotting while feeding on villous capillaries.

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