Bovine high molecular weight kininogen (bHMWK) partially corrects the activated plasma thromboplastin time (aPTT) of Fitzgerald trait plasma which is congenitally deficient in HMWK. The relationship between the structure and activity of HMWK was clarified by studying the effects of different fragments of bHMWK on the aPTT of Fitzgerald-trait plasma. The peptides studied were lys-bradykinin-free HMWK, bradykinin-fragment 1-2-free HMWK, heavy chain, fragment 1-2-light chain, and light chain. All fragments were tested in equimolar concentrations. Bradykinin-fragment 1-2-free HMWK, heavy chain, and light chain have little or no correcting activity upon Fitzgerald-trait plasma aPTr. Fragment 1-2 light chain has the same correcting activity as intact bHMWK, while that of lys-bradykinin-free HMWK appears to be higher. Both fragment 1-2 and fragment 2 inhibit the clotting time of normal human plasma. When compared on a molar basis, fragment 2 is a more active inhibitor than fragment 1-2. When the effects of bovine plasma kallikrein upon bHMWK and hHMWK were studied, it was found that it released kinins from both kininogens. However, while the correcting activity of bHMWK was completely destroyed after 60 min of incubation, that of hHMWK was fully retained. These data suggest that: (a) the active part of bHMWK is comprised of the fragment 1-2 light chain portion; (b) fragment 1-2 or fragment 2 is the binding site to negatively charged surfaces, while the light chain interacts with other components of the surface-mediated reactions; and (c) bovine plasma kallikrein releases kinins, but probably does not cause the release of fragment 1-2 from human HMWK.