Tissue Factor (TF) is the mammalian plasma membrane cofactor responsible for initiation of blood coagulation. Binding of blood coagulation factor VIIa to TF activates the serine proteinase zymogens factors IX and X by limited proteolysis leading to the formation of a thrombin and fibrin meshwork that stabilizes the thrombus. TF on the plasma membrane of cells resides mostly in a cryptic configuration, which rapidly transforms into an active configuration in response to certain stimuli. The extracellular part of TF consists of two fibronectin type III domains. The disulfide bond in the membrane proximal domain (Cys186-Cys209) is atypical for domains of this type in that it links adjacent strands in the same beta sheet, what we have called an allosteric bond. Ablation of the allosteric disulfide by mutating both cysteine residues severely impairs procoagulant activity. The thiol-alkylating agents N-ethylmaleimide and methyl methanethiolsulfonate block TF activation by ionomycin, while the thiol-oxidizing agent HgCl2 and dithiol cross-linkers promote activation. TF activation could not be explained by exposure of phosphatidylserine on the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane. Cryptic TF contained unpaired cysteine thiols that were depleted upon activation, and de-encryption was associated with a change in the conformation of the membrane-proximal domain. These findings imply that the Cys186-Cys209 disulfide bond is reduced in the cryptic form of TF and that activation involves formation of the disulfide. It is likely that formation of this disulfide bond changes the conformation of the domain that facilitates productive binding of factors IX and X.