Our work was undertaken to compare the relative efficiency of 2 purified prostatic kallikreins, namely, hK2 and prostate-specific antigen (PSA or hK3), in the activation of single-chain urokinase (scuPA). We found that hK2 converts scuPA into an active enzyme with an efficiency equal to approximately 1/50 that of plasmin. During the activation of scuPA by hK2, two fragments of 33 and 22 kDa were generated. The NH2-terminal amino acid sequence of the 33 kDa fragment showed that hK2 cleaved scuPA between Lys158 and Ile159. In contrast to a previous report by another group, our purified hK3 preparation containing no trypsin-like contaminants was totally unable to activate scuPA. Our results show that kallikrein hK2 has plasmin-like activity and suggest that it could be the initiator of a proteolytic cascade leading to prostatic cancer invasion.