In eukaryotic cells, COPI vesicles retrieve resident proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum and mediate intra-Golgi transport. Here, we studied the Hansenula polymorpha homologue of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae RET1 gene, encoding α-COP, a subunit of the COPI protein complex. H. polymorpha ret1 mutants, which expressed truncated α-COP lacking more than 300 C-terminal amino acids, manifested an enhanced ability to secrete human urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and an inability to grow with a shortage of Ca2+ ions, whereas a lack of α-COP expression was lethal. The α-COP defect also caused alteration of intracellular transport of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein Gas1p, secretion of abnormal uPA forms, and reductions in the levels of Pmr1p, a Golgi Ca2+-ATPase. Overexpression of Pmr1p suppressed some ret1 mutant phenotypes, namely, Ca2+ dependence and enhanced uPA secretion. The role of COPI-dependent vesicular transport in cellular Ca2+ homeostasis is discussed.
The development of specific catalytic inhibitors for the serine protease urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) has been hindered due to difficulties in producing sufficient amounts of active recombinant uPA that is catalytically equivalent to native uPA. The purpose of this study was to develop an efficient system for the expression of recombinant human uPA that exhibits comparable proteolytic activity to that of the native protein. Since post-translational modifications (e.g. glycosylations) of uPA are necessary for efficient proteolytic activity, we have used a mammalian cell line [Chinese hamster ovary (CHO)-S] to express recombinant human uPA. CHO-S cells were selected to stably express full-length recombinant human uPA containing a hexahistidine tag at its C-terminus to permit purification by nickel-based affinity chromatography. Secretion of recombinant uPA into the culture media was confirmed by immunoblotting and the presence of an N-linked glycosylation was confirmed by PNGase sensitivity. Enzymatic activity of purified recombinant uPA was demonstrated using zymography and quantitatively compared to native uPA by kinetic analysis using an uPA-specific substrate. Native uPA and the recombinant uPA demonstrated comparable Km values (55.7 and 39 μM, respectively). Furthermore, inhibition studies using benzamidine resulted in a Ki of 195 μM for native uPA, while recombinant uPA had a Ki of 112 μM. These data indicate that recombinant human uPA expressed by CHO-S cells is functionally comparable to native uPA.
CHO-S; plasminogen; recombinant expression; serine protease; tumor cell motility; uPA; urokinase
Urokinase-type Plasminogen Activator (uPA), a serine protease, plays a pivotal role in human breast cancer metastasis by mediating the degradation of extracellular matrix proteins and promoting cell motility. In more advanced breast cancers, uPA activity is significantly up regulated and serves as a prognostic indicator of poor patient outcome. Classically, regulation of uPA activity, especially in breast cancers, is thought to be mediated by Type 1 Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor (PAI-1). However, we have recently found that a lesser known natural inhibitor of uPA, Protease Nexin 1 (PN-1), is expressed in normal human mammary tissue. Based on this observation, we investigated if PN-1 is also expressed in human breast cancers where it may contribute to the regulation of uPA and participate in the development of a metastatic phenotype.
Using quantitative real-time PCR analysis, we measured PN-1 mRNA expression in tissues obtained from 26 human breast tumor biopsies and compared these values with those obtained from 10 normal breast tissue samples. Since both PAI-1 and uPA expression levels are known to be elevated in metastatic breast cancer, we also measured their levels in our 26 tumor samples for direct comparison with PN-1 expression. We found that PN-1 expression was elevated over that found in normal mammary tissue; an increase of 1.5- to 3.5-fold in 21 of 26 human breast tumors examined. As anticipated, both PAI-1 and uPA mRNA levels were significantly higher in the majority of breast tumors; 19 of 26 tumors for PAI-1 and 22 of 26 tumors for uPA. A quantile box plot of these data demonstrates that the elevated PN-1 expression in breast tumor tissues directly correlates with the increased expression levels found for PAI-1 and uPA.
The fact that PN-1 expression is elevated in human breast cancer, and that its increased expression is directly correlated with increases measured for PAI-1 and uPA, suggests that PN-1 may contribute to the regulation of uPA-mediate tumor cell motility and metastatic spread.
Lung carcinoma (H1299) cells deficient in p53 (p53−/−) express large amounts of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) protein and uPA mRNA, and exhibit slower degradation of uPA mRNA than that of p53-expressing nonmalignant Beas2B human airway epithelial cells. Expression of p53 protein in H1299 cells, upon transfection with p53 cDNA, suppressed basal as well as uPA-induced expression of uPA protein in both conditioned media and cell lysates, and decreased the level of steady-state uPA mRNA primarily due to increased uPA mRNA turnover. Inhibition of p53 expression by RNA silencing (SiRNA) in Beas2B cells enhanced basal and uPA-mediated uPA protein and mRNA expression with stabilization of uPA mRNA. Purified p53 binds to the uPA mRNA 3′ untranslated region (UTR) in a sequence-specific manner and endogenous uPA mRNA associates with p53 protein isolated from Beas2B cytosolic extracts. p53 binds to a 35-nucleotide uPA 3′UTR sequence and insertion of this sequence into β-globin mRNA accelerates degradation of otherwise stable β-globin mRNA. These observations confirm a new role for p53 as a uPA mRNA binding protein that down-regulates uPA mRNA stability and decreases cellular uPA expression.
post-transcriptional regulation; urokinase-type plasminogen activator; p53; mRNA stability; RNA binding protein
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) is an extracellular protease and expressed in various cells that exhibit dynamic changes in cell morphology, suggesting a link between cytoskeletal reorganization (CSR) and uPA expression. CSR can be induced by pharmacological agents, such as by colchicine for microtubule cytoskeleton and by cytochalasin for microfilament cytoskeleton. Using these agents, we previously showed that CSR induced the uPA gene in LLC-PK1 cells independently of the protein kinase C and cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Here we show that the induction of the uPA gene by CSR is mediated by the activation of c-Jun which interacts with an AP-1-like site located 2 kb upstream of the uPA gene. 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA) induces the uPA gene through the same elements, but additionally utilizes an adjacent PEA3 element and induces c-fos. Furthermore, CSR induces a greater accumulation and a more pronounced phosphorylation of c-Jun than TPA induction. AP-1 is a positive regulator of growth and oncogenesis, and CSR is an integral part of these processes. Our results provide a view how CSR and AP-1 could be coupled in these processes. We also show that TPA and CSR act synergistically, suggesting a model where an initial activation signal could be amplified by CSR.
Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1; SERPINE1) is the major physiologic regulator of the plasmin-based pericellular proteolytic cascade, a modulator of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) migration and a causative factor in cardiovascular disease and restenosis, particularly in the context of increased vessel transforming growth factor- β1 (TGF-β1) levels. PAI-1 limits conversion of plasminogen to plasmin (and, thereby, fibrin degradation) by inhibiting its protease targets urokinase and tissue-type plasminogen activators (uPA, tPA). PAI-1 also has signaling functions and binds to the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) to regulate LRP1-dependent cell motility that, in turn, contributes to neointima formation. PAI-1/uPA/uPA receptor/LRPI/integrin complexes are endocytosed with subsequent uPAR/LRP1/integrin redistribution to the leading edge, initiating an “adhesion-detachment-readhesion” cycle to promote cell migration. PAI-1 also interacts with LRP1 in a uPA/uPAR-independent manner triggering Jak/Stat1 pathway activation to stimulate cell motility. PAI-1 itself is a substrate for extracellular proteases and exists in a “cleaved” form which, while unable to interact with uPA and tPA, retains LRP1-binding and migratory activity. These findings suggest that there are multiple mechanisms through which inhibition of PAI-1 may promote cardiovascular health. Several studies have focused on the design, synthesis and preclinical assessment of PAI-1 antagonists including monoclonal antibodies, peptides and low molecular weight (LMW) antagonists. This review discusses the translational impact of LMW PAI-1 antagonists on cardiovascular disease addressing PAI-1-initiated signaling, PAI-1 structure, the design and characteristics of PAI-1-targeting drugs, results of in vitro and in vivo studies, and their clinical implications.
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) is expressed by lung epithelial cells and regulates fibrin turnover and epithelial cell viability. PMA, LPS, and TNF-alpha, as well as uPA itself, induce uPA expression in lung epithelial cells. PMA, LPS, and TNF-alpha induce uPA expression through increased synthesis as well as stabilization of uPA mRNA, while uPA increases its own expression solely through uPA mRNA stabilization. The mechanism by which lung epithelial cells regulate uPA expression at the level of mRNA stability is unclear. To elucidate this process, we sought to characterize protein-uPA mRNA interactions that regulate uPA expression. Regulation of uPA at the level of mRNA stability involves the interaction of a ~40 kDa cytoplasmic-nuclear shuttling protein with a 66 nt uPA mRNA 3′UTR sequence. We purified the uPA mRNA 3′UTR binding protein and identified it as ribonucleotide reductase M2 (RRM2). We expressed recombinant RRM2 and confirmed its interaction with a specific 66 nt uPA 3′UTR sequence. Immunoprecipitation of cell lysates with anti-RRM2 antibody and RT-PCR for uPA mRNA confirmed that RRM2 binds to uPA mRNA. Treatment of Beas2B cells with uPA or LPS attenuated RRM2-endogenous uPA mRNA interactions, while overexpression of RRM2 inhibited uPA protein and mRNA expression through destabilization of uPA mRNA. LPS exposure of lung epithelial cells translocates RRM2 from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in a time-dependent manner leading to stabilization of uPA mRNA. This newly recognized pathway could influence uPA expression and a broad range of uPA-dependent functions in lung epithelial cells in the context of lung inflammation and repair.
Urokinase; ribonucleotide reductase M2; Urokinase-type plasminogen activator; Acute lung injury
Plasminogen activator was previously shown to be induced by UV light in human cells with low capacity to repair UV-induced DNA lesions. We now show that in human fetal fibroblasts UV light enhanced the two mRNA species coding for the urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and the tissue-type plasminogen activator, but immunological analysis revealed exclusively uPA activity. Several independent and complementary experiments indicated that induction of uPA was mediated, apparently entirely, through a UV-induced, secreted protein (UVIS) in the growth medium of irradiated cells. First, elevation of uPA mRNA after irradiation was severely blocked by cycloheximide. Second, replacement of conditioned medium in irradiated cells while the rate of plasminogen activator induction was maximal rapidly and completely stopped any further increase in uPA activity. Third, addition of the same removed conditioned medium to nonirradiated cells mimicked UV light in enhancing the level of uPA activity as well as that of uPA mRNA. Fourth, UVIS activity was completely lost by treating the conditioned medium with trypsin but not with nucleases. Kinetic measurements indicated that the accumulation of UVIS rather than the induction of uPA by UVIS conferred the rate-limiting step in the overall process of uPA induction. Both UV light and UVIS acted synergistically with inhibitors of DNA repair for uPA induction. Based on these results, a model is proposed implicating relaxation of DNA torsional stress of an as yet undefined DNA sequence(s) in the induction of UVIS, which is then responsible for activation of the uPA gene.
It has been demonstrated that urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) is involved in tumor cell metastasis by degrading the extracellular matrix. However, there is little direct evidence of clinical uPA system expression in peritoneal metastatic tissues of gastric cancer. The objective of this study was to investigate uPA system expression in peritoneal tissues of peritoneal and nonperitoneal metastasis patients, and to explore the diagnostic value of the uPA system.
Expressions of uPA, uPAR, and PAI-1 were measured by semi-quantitative RT-PCR and ELISA. uPA activity was detected using a uPA activity kit.
There was no significant difference in uPA, uPAR, and PAI-1 expression in two types of peritoneal tissue in seven patients with peritoneal metastasis. However, uPA, uPAR, and PAI-1 expressions in peritoneal metastatic lesions were significantly higher than those in normal peritoneal tissues of 24 nonperitoneal metastasis patients (P <0.05). Moreover, no statistical discrepancy of uPA activity was observed in various different tissues.
The expression of the uPA system positively correlates with peritoneal metastasis of gastric cancer. This expression difference in peritoneal or nonperitoneal metastasis patients may provide a reference for diagnosis of peritoneal metastasis.
Gastric cancer; ELISA; Peritoneal metastasis; RT-PCR; UPA system
The human myeloid cell line HL60 secretes urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and expresses its receptor. When stimulated with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), both secretion of uPA and the expression of its receptor are up-regulated, and these cells differentiate to an adherent phenotype. This adhesive response is markedly reduced in the presence of uPA antibodies. The PMA response is restored by the addition of native uPA, an amino-terminal fragment of uPA (residues 1-143) devoid of proteolytic activity, or a synthetic peptide (residues 12-32) from the uPA growth factor domain known to mediate receptor binding. In contrast, the addition of catalytically active low molecular weight uPA, which is missing the growth factor domain, or a peptide from the catalytic domain (residues 247-266) is ineffective. The influence of uPA antibodies on a second marker of macrophage differentiation, cysteine proteinase activity, was also examined. Cysteine proteinase activity of HL60 cells is increased in PMA-treated cells after 24 h but it fails to increase in the presence of anti-uPA. This increase in cathepsin B-like activity is also restored by exogenous uPA. These experiments indicate that an autocrine interaction of the growth factor domain of uPA with its receptor mediates an essential step in PMA-mediated myeloid cell differentiation.
Binding of type-1 plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) to cell surface urokinase (uPA) promotes inactivation and internalization of adhesion receptors (e.g., urokinase receptor (uPAR), integrins) and leads to cell detachment from a variety of extracellular matrices. In this report, we begin to examine the mechanism of this process. We show that neither specific antibodies to uPA, nor active site inhibitors of uPA, can detach the cells. Thus, cell detachment is not simply the result of the binding of macromolecules to uPA and/or of the inactivation of uPA. We further demonstrate that another uPA-inhibitor, protease nexin-1 (PN-1), also stimulates cell detachment in a uPA/uPAR-dependent manner. The binding of both inhibitors to uPA leads to the specific inactivation of the matrix-engaged integrins and the subsequent detachment of these integrins from the underlying extracellular matrix (ECM). This inhibitor-mediated inactivation of integrins requires direct interaction between uPAR and those integrins since cells attached to the ECM through integrins incapable of binding uPAR, do not respond to the presence of either PAI-1 of PN-1. Although both inhibitors initiate the clearance of uPAR, only PAI-1 triggers the internalization of integrins. However, cell detachment by PAI-1 or PN-1 does not depend on the endocytosis of these integrins since cell detachment was also observed when clearance of these integrins was blocked. Thus, PAI-1 and PN-1 induce cell detachment through two slightly different mechanisms that affect integrin metabolism. These differences may be important for distinct cellular processes that require controlled changes in the subcellular localization of these receptors.
cell detachment; urokinase receptor; integrins; PAI-1; protease nexin-1; endocytosis
A variety of proteases have been implicated in prostate cancer (PC) bone metastasis, but the individual contributions of these enzymes remain unclear. Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), a serine protease, can activate plasminogen and stimulate signaling events on binding its receptor uPAR. In the present study, we investigated the functional role of PC cell-associated uPA in intraosseous tumor growth and bone matrix degradation. Using a severe combined immunodeficient-human mouse model, we found that PC3 cells were the major source of uPA in the experimental bone tumor. Injection of uPA-silenced PC3 cells in bone xenografts resulted in significant reduction of bone tumor burdens and protection of trabecular bones from destruction. The suppressed tumor growth was associated with the level of uPA expression but not with its activity. An increase in the expression of PAI-1, the endogenous uPA inhibitor, was found during in vitro tumor-stromal interactions. Up-regulation of PAI-1 in bone stromal cells and preosteoclasts/osteoblasts was due to soluble factor(s) released by PC cells, and the enhanced PAI-1 expression in turn stimulated PC cell migration. Our results indicate that both tumor-derived uPA and tumor-stroma-induced PAI-1 play important roles in intraosseous metastatic PC growth through regulation of a uPA-uPAR-PAI-1 axis by autocrine/paracrine mechanisms.
Single-chain urokinase-type plasminogen activator (pro-uPA) is bound to a specific surface receptor on ovarian cancer HOC-I cells that is incompletely saturated. Saturation of uncovered receptors by uPA polypeptides with intact amino-terminal fragment (ATF) derived from pro-uPA by limited proteolysis (human leucocyte elastase [HLE] or V8 protease) has been studied. HOC-I cells preferentially invaded reconstituted basement membranes in a time- and plasminogen-dependent manner. This process was inhibitable by preincubation with uPA polypeptides in the medium at levels which suggested that complete saturation of cell surface uPA receptors occurred. This result indicates that occupation of uPA receptors by enzymatically inactive uPA fragments or prevention of rebinding of pro-uPA synthesised by tumour cells to the receptors specifically reduces the invasion of the tumour cells through basement membranes in vitro.
Since the recognition that plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is a powerful profibrotic molecule, there has been considerable interest in deciphering the extent to which this effect is mediated by its ability to inhibit serine proteases with downstream effects on fibrogenesis. This review will summarize current knowledge about the serine protease urokinase-type plasminogen activator and its high affinity receptor uPAR/CD87 as it pertains to chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression. An emerging theme is that the effects of PAI-1 and uPAR appear to be organ- and site-specific. Normal kidney tubules produce a large quantity of uPA that is secreted into the urinary space. Activity levels increase during CKD presumably due to new sources of production by macrophages and fibroblasts. By activating hepatocyte growth factor and degrading fibrinogen uPA may have anti-fibrotic effects. However CKD severity after experimental ureteral obstruction is not altered by endogenous uPA deficiency. Beneficial effects of exogenous uPA have been reported in experimental models of fibrosis in the lung and liver but CKD awaits exploration.
Absent in normal kidneys uPAR is expressed by both renal parenchymal cells and inflammatory cells in a variety of pathological states. Such expression appears beneficial based on studies performed in uPAR-deficient mice. The uPAR promotes bacterial clearance in infectious diseases. In CKD uPAR expression is associated with high uPA activity but its most important effect appears to be due to scavenging activities and effects on cell recruitment and migration. Although uPAR itself is a non-signaling receptor, it interacts with a variety of co-receptors to modify cellular behavior. Best known are interactions with the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP-1) that lead to PAI-1 endocytosis and degradation, and interactions with several integrins to regulate matrix-dependent cell migration. Contacts with the receptor for the complement C5a component and the interleukin −6 receptor gp130 are examples of other recently recognized interactions.
In addition to uPA, vitronectin and high molecular weight kininogen are alternate uPAR ligands that could be implicated in CKD progression. uPAR may also be shed from cell membranes. This soluble form (suPAR) has been detected in plasma and urine and is known to be a chemoattractant for leukocytes that express the formyl-peptide-receptor-like receptor 1/lipoxin A4 receptor. In addition to uPAR several other receptors, including some of the uPAR co-receptors, may also bind directly to uPA and activate cell signaling pathways. The roles of these newer uPAR ligands and uPA receptors are just beginning to be investigated. Since many of them are expressed in the kidney, their potential participation in CKD pathogenesis will be of interest.
urokinase; urokinase receptor; serine protease; plasminogen activator inhibitor-1; low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein; fibrosis; vitronectin; integrin
The glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored membrane protein urokinase plasminogen activator-receptor (uPA-R; CD87) is one of the key molecules involved in migration of leukocytes and tumor cells. uPA bound to uPA-R provides the cell proteolytic potential used for degradation of extracellular matrix. uPA-R is also involved in induction of cell adhesion and chemotaxis. Here, we provide a molecular explanation for these uPA-R-related cellular events. By size fractionation of monocyte lysate and affinity isolation on its natural ligand uPA, we demonstrate uPA-R as a component of a receptor complex of relatively large size. Reprecipitation and immunoblotting techniques allowed us to detect the protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) p60fyn, p53/56lyn, p58/64hck, and p59fgr as components of this "uPA-R complex". Activation of monocytes even with enzymatically inactivated uPA resulted in induction of tyrosine phosphorylation, suggesting modulation of uPA-R-associated PTKs upon ligand binding. In spite of their presence in large complexes, we did not find the GPI-linked proteins CD14, CD58, and CD59 in the uPA-R complex, which indicates the presence of different receptor domains containing GPI-linked proteins in monocytes. However, we identified the leukocyte integrins LFA-1 and CR3 as components of the uPA-R complex as indicated by coisolation of these molecules, as well as by cocapping and comodulation of uPA-R and leukocyte integrins on the monocyte surface. The assemblage of uPA-R, PTKs and membrane spanning beta 2-integrins in one receptor complex indicates functional cooperation. In regard to the involvement of these molecules in pericellular proteolysis, signal transduction, as well as adhesion and chemotactic movement, we suggest uPA-R complex as a potential cellular device for cell migration.
The type I membrane protein calnexin is a conserved key component of the quality control mechanism in the endoplasmic reticulum. It functions as a molecular chaperone that monitors the folding state of nascent polypeptides entering the endoplasmic reticulum. Calnexin also behaves as a lectin, as its chaperoning activity involves binding of oligosaccharide moieties present on newly imported glycoproteins. We isolated the calnexin gene (HpCNE1) from the methylotrophic yeast Hansenula polymorpha, and used HpCNE1 expression plasmids for supertransformation of H. polymorpha strains secreting target proteins of biotechnological interest. The elevated dosage of HpCNE1 enhanced secretion of the four proteins tested: three glycoproteins and one unglycosylated product. Secretion of bacterial alginate epimerase AlgE1 was increased threefold on average, and secretion of both human interferon-γ and fungal consensus phytase twofold. With phytase and AlgE1 this improvement was all the more remarkable, as the secretion level was already high in the original strains (g L−1 range). The same approach improved secretion of human serum albumin, which lacks N-linked glycans, about twofold. Glycosylation of the pro-MFα1 leader may account for the effect of calnexin in this case. Our results argue that cooverexpression of calnexin can serve as a generally applicable tool for enhancing the secretion of all types of heterologous protein by H. polymorpha.
calnexin; Hansenula polymorpha; chaperone; heterologous protein expression; secretion
Rationale: Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) regulates extracellular proteolysis in lung injury and repair. Although alveolar expression of uPA increases, procoagulant activity predominates.
Objectives: This study was designed to investigate whether uPA alters the expression of tissue factor (TF), the major initiator of the coagulation cascade, in lung epithelial cells (ECs).
Methods: Bronchial, primary airway ECs and C57B6 wild-type, uPA-deficient (uPA−/−) mice were exposed to phosphate-buffered saline, uPA, or LPS. Immunohistochemistry, protein, cellular, and molecular techniques were used to assess TF expression and activity.
Measurements and Main Results: uPA enhanced TF mRNA and protein expression, and TF-dependent coagulation in lung ECs. uPA-induced expression of TF involves both increased synthesis and enhanced stabilization of TF mRNA. uPA catalytic activity had little effect on induction of TF. By contrast, deletion of the uPA receptor binding growth factor domain from uPA markedly attenuated the induction of TF, suggesting that uPA receptor binding is sufficient for TF induction. Lung tissues of uPA-deficient mice expressed less TF protein and mRNA compared with wild-type mice. In addition, intratracheal instillation of mouse uPA increased TF mRNA and protein expression and accelerated coagulation in lung tissues. uPA−/− mice exposed to LPS failed to induce TF.
Conclusions: uPA increased TF expression and TF-dependent coagulation in the lungs of mice. We hypothesize that uPA-mediated induction of TF occurs in lung ECs to promote increased fibrin deposition in the airways during acute lung injury.
urokinase; tissue factor; lung epithelial cells; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) is a potentially important prognostic factor in breast cancer for identifying patients at high risk of recurrence. This retrospective study assessed two enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods measuring uPA antigen levels in 499 primary breast cancer cytosols. Both uPA methods were applied to cytosols used routinely for oestrogen (ER) and progesterone (PgR) receptor assays. uPA was determined using a classical ELISA method (Imubind; American Diagnostica) and a novel automatic immunoluminometric assay (Lia; Sangtec Medical). The uPA Imubind method revealed about twice as much uPA antigen (median 0.75 ng mg(-1) protein) as the uPA Lia method (median 0.38 ng mg(-1) protein). The correlation coefficient between the two methods was acceptable (r = 0.81), but the two techniques are not interchangeable. Univariate analyses confirmed the poor outcome of patients whose tumours contained large amounts of uPA, regardless of the technique used. Multivariate analyses showed that uPA Imubind and uPA Lia values were both strong independent prognostic factors.
Previous reports showed that urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) converts plasminogen to plasmin which then activates matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Here, we report that uPA directly cleaved pro-MMP-9 in a time-dependent manner at both C- and N-terminus and generated two gelatinolytic bands. uPA-activated-MMP-9 efficiently degraded fibronectin and blocked by uPA inhibitor B428 and recombinant tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1). B428 inhibited basal and PMA-induced active MMP-9 in glioblastomas (GBM) U1242 cell media as well as cell invasion in vitro. A combination of MMP-9 and uPA antibodies more significantly inhibited U1242 cell invasion than uPA or MMP-9 antibody alone. Both uPA and MMP-9 were highly expressed in U1242 cell and GBM patient specimens. Furthermore, two active MMP-9 fragments with identical molecular weights to the uPA-activated MMP-9 products were detected in GBM patient specimens. These results suggest that uPA-mediated direct activation of MMP-9 may promote GBM cell invasion.
MMP-9; uPA; Activation; Cell invasion; Glioblastoma; Mass spectrum
AIM: To investigate the role of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) invasion and its correlation with clinicopathological parameters.
METHODS: uPA expression in CCA tissue was determined by immunohistochemistry. The level of uPA from two CCA cell lines (HuCCA-1 and KKU-M213) and a non-cancer immortalized cholangiocyte cell line (H69) was monitored by plasminogen-gelatin zymography and western blotting, whereas that of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) protein and uPA receptor (uPAR) mRNA was monitored by western blotting and quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, respectively. Two independent methods were employed to suppress uPA function: a synthetic uPA inhibitor (B428) and silencing of uPA gene expression using siRNA. In vitro invasion of the uPA-disrupted cells was assessed by Matrigel-coated Transwell assay.
RESULTS: The immunohistochemical study showed that 75.3% (131/174) of CCA tissues expressed uPA. High uPA expression was correlated with lymphatic invasion and metastasis of CCA patients. Plasminogen-gelatin zymography of the conditioned media and cell-surface eluates showed that both CCA cell lines, but not H69, expressed both secreted and membrane-bound forms of uPA. Although the two CCA cell lines, HuCCA-1 and KKU-M213, expressed a relatively high level of uPA and uPAR, the latter exhibited a much lower degree of in vitro invasiveness, correlating with a high expression of PAI-1 in the latter, but not in the former. Suppressing uPA function with a specific uPA inhibitor, B428, or with siRNA against uPA reduced in vitro invasiveness of KKU-M213 cells, demonstrating the requirement for uPA in the invasiveness of CCA cells. Therefore, our in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that uPA is an important requirement for the invasion process of CCA.
CONCLUSION: uPA expression correlates with lymphatic invasion and metastasis in vivo and is required for CCA cell invasion in vitro, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic target.
Bile duct cancer; Cholangiocarcinoma; Cancer invasion; Urokinase plasminogen activator; Cancer metastasis
Receptor-bound urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) remains associated to the surface of human monocytes for many hours. Monocytes induced to migrate in a chemotactic gradient of f-Met-Leu-Phe rapidly polarize their uPA receptors to the leading front of the cells. Receptor-bound enzyme can be inhibited by plasminogen activator inhibitor 2 (PAI-2), with a kinetics comparable to that determined for the free enzyme, and uPA/PAI-2 complexes can bind to the uPA receptor. In contrast to the active enzyme, the uPA/PAI-2 complex is rapidly cleared from the monocyte cell surface; this involves an initial cleavage of the complex at the cell surface, followed by endocytosis and degradation. These results indicate that the uPA receptor can function both to focus plasmin-mediated extracellular matrix degradation in front of migrating cells, and to target uPA/PAI-2 enzyme/inhibitor complexes for degradation; they suggest that this receptor is a key determinant in the control of uPA-catalyzed extracellular proteolysis.
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and plasmin have long been implicated in cancer progression. However, the precise contributions of the uPA/plasmin system to specific steps involved in cancer cell dissemination have not been fully established. Herein, we have used a highly disseminating variant of the human PC-3 prostate carcinoma cell line, PC-hi/diss, as a prototype of aggressive carcinomas to investigate the mechanisms whereby pro-uPA activation and uPA-generated plasmin functionally contribute to specific stages of metastasis. The PC-hi/diss cells secrete and activate significant amounts of pro-uPA, leading to efficient generation of plasmin in solution and at the cell surface. In a mouse orthotopic xenograft model, treatment with the specific pro-uPA activation-blocking antibody mAb-112 significantly inhibited local invasion and distant metastasis of the PC-hi/diss cells. To mechanistically examine the uPA/plasmin-mediated aspects of tumor cell dissemination, the anti-pro-uPA mAb-112 and the potent serine protease inhibitor, aprotinin, were used in parallel in a number of in vivo assays modeling various rate-limiting steps in early metastatic spread. Our findings demonstrate that, by generating plasmin, activated tumor-derived uPA facilitates early stages of PC-hi/diss dissemination, specifically the escape from the primary tumor and tumor cell intravasation. Moreover, through a series of in vitro and in vivo analyses, we suggest that PC-hi/diss-invasive escape and dissemination may be enhanced by cleavage of stromal fibronectin by uPA-generated plasmin. Together, our findings point to inhibition of pro-uPA activation at the apex of the uPA/plasmin cascade as a therapy-valid approach to control onset of tumor escape and ensuing metastatic spread.
The urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) system is one of the best-investigated protease systems, both under physiological and pathological conditions, including various types of cancer. However, effects of co-expression of members of the uPA system in soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) patients at the protein level in both tumour tissue and serum have not been investigated yet.
We examined 82 STS patients for protein levels of uPA, PAI-1and uPAR in tumour tissue and serum by ELISA.
A significant correlation between high antigen levels of uPA, PAI-1 or uPAR in tumour tissue, and of uPAR in serum, with poor outcome of STS patients was found for the first time. Most strikingly, we observed an additive effect of combined uPA, PAI-1 or uPAR levels in tumour tissue extracts with uPAR levels in serum on patients' prognosis. High uPA/uPAR, PAI-1/uPAR and uPAR/uPAR antigen levels in tumour tissue/serum were associated with a 5.9-fold, 5.8-fold and 6.2-fold increased risk of tumour-related death (P=0.003, 0.001 and 0.002, respectively) compared with those patients who displayed low levels of the respective marker combination.
As expression of members of the uPA system in tumour tissue and serum is additively correlated with prognosis of STS patients, our results suggest that combinations of these biomarkers can identify STS patients with a higher risk of tumour-related death.
urokinase plasminogen activator system; sarcoma patients; prognosis
The serine protease urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) is causally involved in cancer invasion and metastasis. Activity of this protease in vivo is controlled principally by two inhibitors, one of which is plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2 (PAI-2). In this study, we show that PAI-2 levels were significantly higher in primary breast carcinomas (n = 152) than benign breast tumours (n = 18). In the primary cancers, PAI-2 levels correlated weakly but significantly with those of uPA and PAI-1, but not with tissue type plasminogen activator (tPA) or uPA receptor (uPAR) levels. Using Northern blotting, mRNA for PAI-2 was found in 28.6% of 49 primary breast cancers. In contrast to findings at the protein level, PAI-2 mRNA levels failed to correlate with those for uPA or PAI-1. After immunocytochemistry with primary cancers, PAI-2 was detected predominantly in the malignant cells of primary carcinomas but was also present in stromal cells. Using the median value as a cut-off point, PAI-2 showed no significant relationship with either disease-free interval or overall survival. However, using an optimum cut-off value, patients with low levels of PAI-2 had a worse outcome than those with a high level. We conclude that, unlike PAI-1, high levels of PAI-2 may be a favourable prognostic marker in breast cancer.
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) gene transcription is increased > or = 50-fold in chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEF) following transformation by the protein tyrosine kinase pp60v-src. Protein phosphorylation appears to play a critical role in uPA gene expression in these cells; protein kinase C-activating phorbol esters cooperate with pp60v-src to synergistically increase uPA mRNA, whereas cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase-activating agents (e.g., 8-bromo cAMP) repress uPA mRNA levels. To explore the relationship between transforming oncogenes and uPA gene expression, uPA mRNA levels were measured in CEF infected with selected avian retroviruses. We report that v-ras and the transforming protein tyrosine kinases v-src, v-yes, and v-ros all increase cellular uPA mRNAs. However, transformation with the protein tyrosine kinase encoded by v-erbB, or the nuclear proteins encoded by v-jun, v-ski, or v-myc, did not increase uPA mRNA detectably. Ras and all of the protein tyrosine kinases analyzed, including the v-erbB product, but none of the nuclear oncoproteins sensitized cells to phorbol ester induction of uPA gene expression. Thus, increased uPA gene expression is not simply a secondary consequence of cell transformation but, rather, is regulated or comodulated by only a subset of oncogene products. Analysis of cells expressing site-directed mutants of pp60v-src showed that the induction of the uPA gene is dependent on protein tyrosine kinase catalytic activity, myristylation, and plasma membrane localization. However, these properties together are not sufficient; an additional feature in the src homology 2 domain is also required. The major sites of serine phosphorylation, serines 12 and 17, and the autophosphorylation site, tyrosine 416, are not essential for uPA gene induction. However, the reduction of uPA mRNA in pp60v-src-transformed cells by 8-bromo cAMP is dependent on tyrosine 416.