Skizzle (SkzL), secreted by Streptococcus agalactiae, has moderate sequence identity to streptokinase and staphylokinase, bacterial activators of human plasminogen (Pg). SkzL binds [Glu]Pg with low affinity (K(D) 3-16 mum) and [Lys]Pg and plasmin (Pm) with indistinguishable high affinity (K(D) 80 and 50 nm, respectively). Binding of SkzL to Pg and Pm is completely lysine-binding site-dependent, as shown by the effect of the lysine analog, 6-aminohexanoic acid. Deletion of the COOH-terminal SkzL Lys(415) residue reduces affinity for [Lys]Pg and active site-blocked Pm 30-fold, implicating Lys(415) in a lysine-binding site interaction with a Pg/Pm kringle. SkzL binding to active site fluorescein-labeled Pg/Pm analogs demonstrates distinct high and low affinity interactions. High affinity binding is mediated by Lys(415), whereas the source of low affinity binding is unknown. SkzL enhances the activation of [Glu]Pg by urokinase (uPA) approximately 20-fold, to a maximum rate indistinguishable from that for [Lys]Pg and [Glu]Pg activation in the presence of 6-aminohexanoic acid. SkzL binds preferentially to the partially extended beta-conformation of [Glu]Pg, which is in unfavorable equilibrium with the compact alpha-conformation, thereby converting [Glu]Pg to the fully extended gamma-conformation and accelerating the rate of its activation by uPA. SkzL enhances [Lys]Pg and [Glu]Pg activation by single-chain tissue-type Pg activator, approximately 42- and approximately 650-fold, respectively. SkzL increases the rate of plasma clot lysis by uPA and single-chain tissue-type Pg activator approximately 2-fold, confirming its cofactor activity in a physiological model system. The results suggest a role for SkzL in S. agalactiae pathogenesis through fibrinolytic enhancement.