Lachesis venom plasminogen activator (LV-PA) is a 33-kDa serine proteinase isolated from bushmaster (Lachesis muta muta) snake venom, which activates the fibrinolytic system in vitro. This study has examined the effect of the plasma proteinase inhibitor α2-macroglobulin (α2-M) towards LV-PA and compares it with the effect on tissue type plasminogen activator (t-PA). The proteolytic activity of LV-PA alone or previously incubated with human plasminogen (Plg) on the large molecular mass protein substrates, dimethylcasein (DMC) and fibrinogen (Fg) was completely inhibited by human α2-M. However, the synthetic peptides Tos-Gly-Pro-Lys-pNA and H-D-Pro-Phe-Arg-pNA (S-2302) were hydrolyzed with almost no reduction in rate. At pH 7.4 and 37 °C the proteinase (0.15 μM over 15 min) interacted with α2-M, and each mole of α2-M bound 2 mol of enzyme. Sodium dodecyl sulfate gel electrophoresis of reduced samples showed that the interaction of α2-M with either LV-PA or t-PA preincubated with Plg resulted in the formation of ∼90 kDa fragments and high molecular mass complexes (Mr 180 kDa), generated by the incubation mixture (LV-PA or t-PA) and Plg. The data suggest that LV-PA is a direct-type PA and its fibrinolytic effect can be reduced by α2-M in vivo.