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1.  Multifunctional roles of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) in cancer stemness and chemoresistance of pancreatic cancer 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(17):2620-2632.
This research highlights the multifunctional role of uPA in pancreatic cancer as a regulator of stemness and chemoresistance. uPA is found to be physically associated with the transcription factors Lhx2 and HOXA5 in the nucleus and regulated expression of p53.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is almost always lethal. One of the underlying reasons for this lethality is believed to be the presence of cancer stem cells (CSC), which impart chemoresistance and promote recurrence, but the mechanisms responsible are unclear. Recently the poor prognosis of PDAC has been correlated with increased expression of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA). In the present study we examine the role of uPA in the generation of PDAC CSC. We observe a subset of cells identifiable as a side population (SP) when sorted by flow cytometry of MIA PaCa-2 and PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells that possess the properties of CSC. A large fraction of these SP cells are CD44 and CD24 positive, are gemcitabine resistant, possess sphere-forming ability, and exhibit increased tumorigenicity, known characteristics of cancer stemness. Increased tumorigenicity and gemcitabine resistance decrease after suppression of uPA. We observe that uPA interacts directly with transcription factors LIM homeobox-2 (Lhx2), homeobox transcription factor A5 (HOXA5), and Hey to possibly promote cancer stemness. uPA regulates Lhx2 expression by suppressing expression of miR-124 and p53 expression by repressing its promoter by inactivating HOXA5. These results demonstrate that regulation of gene transcription by uPA contributes to cancer stemness and clinical lethality.
PMCID: PMC3756915  PMID: 23864708
2.  Innate and adaptive immunity in ITP 
Seminars in hematology  2013;50(0 1):S68-S70.
PMCID: PMC3691820  PMID: 23664521
3.  Quantitative analysis of thrombomodulin-mediated conversion of Protein C to APC: translation from in vitro to in vivo 
Journal of immunological methods  2012;384(1-2):21-24.
Thrombomodulin-bound thrombin cleaves protein C (PC) zymogen in blood plasma producing activated protein C (APC), which exerts anti-coagulant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic and CNS-protective effects. Recombinant APC and thrombomodulin (TM) are both in clinical studies for management of acute conditions including sepsis. Methods that permit accurate measurement of APC in plasma are needed for clinical monitoring and mechanistic studies in animal models. However, the two existing methods require either long incubation periods with substrate resulting in high background or they also recognize protein C inhibitor (PCI) complexed with APC (APC:PCI), which convolutes analysis of the amount of APC generated. Here we describe a robust quantitative in vivo assay that measures APC generation at both low levels of human protein C seen in chronic inflammatory disease and at physiological levels that shows a >99% fit with in vitro data.
PMCID: PMC3443618  PMID: 22750541
4.  Combination Therapy With Glucagon And A Novel Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 Derived Peptide Enhances Protection Against Impaired Cerebrovasodilation During Hypotension After Traumatic Brain Injury Through Inhibition of ERK And JNK MAPK 
Neurological research  2012;34(6):530-537.
The outcome of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is impaired by hypotension and glutamate, and TBI associated release of endogenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) impairs cerebral autoregulation. Glucagon decreases CNS glutamate, lessens neuronal cell injury and improves neurological score in mice after TBI. Glucagon partially protects against impaired cerebrovasodilation during hypotension after TBI in piglets by upregulating cAMP which decreases release of tPA. Pial artery dilation during hypotension is due to release of cAMP dependent dilator prostaglandins (PG), such as PGE2 and PGI2. TBI impairs PGE2 and PGI2 mediated pial artery dilation, which contributes to disturbed cerebral autoregulation post insult, by upregulating mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK). This study was designed to investigate relationships between tPA, prostaglandins, and MAPK as a mechanism to improve the efficacy of glucagon-mediated preservation of cerebrovasodilation during hypotension after TBI.
Lateral FPI was induced in piglets equipped with a closed cranial window. ERK and JNK MAPK concentrations in CSF were quantified by ELISA.
CSF JNK MAPK was increased by FPI, but blunted by glucagon and the novel plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 derived peptide (PAI-1DP), Ac-RMAPEEIIMDRPFLYVVR-amide. FPI modestly increased, while glucagon and PAI-1DP decreased ERK MAPK. PGE2, PGI2, and hypotension induced pial artery dilation was blunted after FPI, partially protected by glucagon, and fully protected by glucagon + PAI-1DP, glucagon + JNK antagonist SP600125 or glucagon + ERK inhibitor U 0126.
Glucagon + PAI-1DP act in concert to protect against impairment of cerebrovasodilation during hypotension after TBI via inhibition of ERK and JNK MAPK.
PMCID: PMC3524516  PMID: 22642975
newborn; cerebral circulation; TBI; plasminogen activators; signal transduction
5.  RBC-coupled tPA Prevents Impairment of Cerebral Vasodilatory Responses Through Inhibition of JNK and Potentiation of p38 MAPK after Cerebral Photothrombosis in the Newborn Pig 
Pediatric ischemic stroke is a poorly understood, yet clinically important, problem. The sole approved treatment for acute stroke is tissue type plasminogen activator (tPA). However, tPA vasoactivity aggravates hypoxia/ischemia (H/I)-induced impairment of cerebrovasodilation in response to hypercapnia and hypotension in newborn pigs. Mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK, a family of 3 kinases, ERK, p38 and JNK) is upregulated after H/I. Coupling of tPA to RBC prevented H/I induced impairment of dilation and suppressed ERK MAPK activation. This study investigated the differential roles of MAPK isoforms in the effects of RBC-tPA on cerebrovasodilation in a translationally relevant injury model, photothrombosis.
Prospective, randomized animal study.
University laboratory.
Newborn (1–5 day old) pigs.
Cerebral blood flow (CBF) and pial artery diameter were determined before and after photothrombotic injury (PTI, laser 532 nm and erythrosine B) was produced in piglets equipped with a closed cranial window. CSF ERK, p38, and JNK MAPK were determined by ELISA.
Measurements and Main Results
tPA and RBC-tPA alleviated reduction of CBF after PTI. Cerebrovasodilation was blunted by PTI, reversed to vasoconstriction by tPA, but dilation was maintained by RBC-tPA. CSF JNK and p38 MAPK but not ERK MAPK were elevated by PTI, an effect potentiated by tPA. RBC-tPA blocked JNK, but potentiated p38 MAPK upregulation after PTI. A JNK MAPK antagonist prevented, a p38 MAPK antagonist potentiated, while an ERK MAPK antagonist had no effect on dilator impairment after PTI.
These data indicate that in addition to restoring perfusion, RBC-tPA prevents impairment of cerebrovasodilation after PTI through blockade of JNK and potentiation of p38 MAPK. These data suggest tPA coupling to RBC offers a novel approach to increase benefit/risk ratio of thrombolytic therapy to treat CNS ischemic disorders.
PMCID: PMC3681424  PMID: 21037505
plasminogen activators; cerebral hemodynamics; signal transduction; pediatric; stroke
6.  tPA-S481A Prevents Neurotoxicity of Endogenous tPA in Traumatic Brain Injury 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2012;29(9):1794-1802.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with loss of autoregulation due to impaired responsiveness to cerebrovascular dilator stimuli, which leads to cerebral hypoperfusion and neuronal impairment or death. Upregulation of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) post-TBI exacerbates loss of cerebral autoregulation and NMDA-receptor-mediated impairment of cerebral hemodynamics, and enhances excitotoxic neuronal death. However, the relationship between NMDA-receptor activation, loss of autoregulation, and neurological dysfunction is unclear. Here, we evaluated the potential therapeutic efficacy of a catalytically inactive tPA variant, tPA S481A, that acts by competing with wild-type tPA for binding, cleavage, and activation of NMDA receptors. Lateral fluid percussion brain injury was produced in anesthetized piglets. Pial artery reactivity was measured via a closed cranial window, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) was quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). tPA-S481A prevented impairment of cerebral autoregulation and reduced histopathologic changes after TBI by inhibiting upregulation of the ERK isoform of MAPK. Treatment with this tPA variant provides a novel approach for limiting neuronal toxicity caused by untoward NMDA-receptor activation mediated by increased tPA and glutamate following TBI.
PMCID: PMC3360893  PMID: 22435890
brain injury; cerebral autoregulation; cerebral circulation; signal transduction; tissue plasminogen activator
7.  Pathobiology of secondary immune thrombocytopenia 
Seminars in hematology  2009;46(1 Suppl 2):S2-14.
Primary immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) remains a diagnosis of exclusion both from nonimmune causes of thrombocytopenia and immune thrombocytopenia that develops in the context of other disorders (secondary immune thrombocytopenia). The pathobiology, natural history, and response to therapy of the diverse causes of secondary ITP differ from each other and from primary ITP, so accurate diagnosis is essential. Immune thrombocytopenia can be secondary to medications or to a concurrent disease, such as an autoimmune condition (eg, systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE], antiphospholipid antibody syndrome [APS], immune thyroid disease, or Evans syndrome), a lymphoproliferative disease (eg, chronic lymphocytic leukemia or large granular T-lymphocyte lymphocytic leukemia), or chronic infection, eg, with Helicobacter pylori, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or hepatitis C virus (HCV). Response to infection may generate antibodies that cross-react with platelet antigens (HIV, H pylori) or immune complexes that bind to platelet Fcγ receptors (HCV) and platelet production may be impaired by infection of megakaryocyte bone marrow-dependent progenitor cells (HCV and HIV), decreased production of thrombopoietin (TPO), and splenic sequestration of platelets secondary to portal hypertension (HCV). Sudden and severe onset of thrombocytopenia has been observed in children after vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella or natural viral infections, including Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and varicella zoster virus. This thrombocytopenia may be caused by cross-reacting antibodies and closely mimics acute ITP of childhood. Proper diagnosis and treatment of the underlying disorder, where necessary, play an important role in patient management.
PMCID: PMC2682438  PMID: 19245930
thrombocytopenia; antibodies; drug-dependent antibodies; HCV; HIV; heparin
8.  uPA modulates the age-dependent effect of brain injury on cerebral hemodynamics through LRP and ERK MAPK 
We hypothesized that urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) contributes to age-dependent early hyperemia after fluid percussion brain injury (FPI) by activating extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), leading to histopathologic changes in the underlying cortex. Both cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) uPA and phosphorylation of CSF ERK MAPK was increased at 1 min after FPI in newborn pigs, but was unchanged in juvenile pigs. uPA and phosphorylated ERK MAPK, detectable in sham piglet brain by immunohistochemistry, was markedly elevated and associated with histopathology 4 h after FPI in the newborn but there was minimal staining and histopathology in the juvenile. EEIIMD, a peptide derived from PA inhibitor-1 that does not affect proteolysis, blunted FPI-induced phosphorylation of ERK MAPK. FPI produced pial artery dilation and increased cerebral blood flow at 1 min after insult in the newborn, but not in the juvenile. Antilipoprotein-related protein (LRP) antibody, EEIIMD, a soluble uPA antagonist, and the ERK MAPK antagonist U 0126 inhibited FPI-associated hyperemia. These data indicate that uPA is upregulated after FPI and produces an age-dependent early hyperemia followed by histopathology through an LRP- and ERK MAPK-dependent pathway.
PMCID: PMC3538352  PMID: 19050721
cerebral circulation; newborn; plasminogen activators; signal transduction
9.  tPA Contributes To Impaired NMDA Cerebrovasodilation After Traumatic Brain Injury Through Activation of JNK MAPK 
Neurological research  2011;33(7):726-733.
NMDA induced pial artery dilation (PAD) is reversed to vasoconstriction after fluid percussion brain injury (FPI). Tissue type plasminogen activator (tPA) is upregulated and the tPA antagonist, EEIIMD, prevents impaired NMDA PAD after FPI. Mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK), a family of at least 3 kinases, ERK, p38 and JNK, is also upregulated after TBI. We hypothesize that tPA impairs NMDA induced cerebrovasodilation after FPI in a MAPK isoform dependent mechanism.
Lateral FPI was induced in newborn pigs. The closed cranial window technique was used to measure pial artery diameter and to collect CSF. ERK, p38, and JNK MAPK concentrations in CSF were quantified by ELISA.
CSF JNK MAPK was increased by FPI, increased further by tPA, but blocked by JNK antagonists SP600125 and D-JNKI1. FPI modestly increased p38 and ERK isoforms of MAPK. NMDA induced PAD was reversed to vasoconstriction after FPI, whereas dilator responses to papaverine were unchanged. tPA, in post FPI CSF concentration, potentiated NMDA induced vasoconstriction while papaverine dilation was unchanged. SP 600125 and D-JNKI1, blocked NMDA induced vasoconstriction and fully restored PAD. The ERK antagonist U 0126 partially restored NMDA-induced PAD, while the p38 inhibitor SB203580 aggravated NMDA-induced vasoconstriction observed in the presence of tPA after FPI.
These data indicate that tPA contributes to impairment of NMDA mediated cerebrovasodilation after FPI through JNK, while p38 may be protective. These data suggest that inhibition of the endogenous plasminogen activator system and JNK may improve cerebral hemodynamic outcome post TBI.
PMCID: PMC3523283  PMID: 21756552
newborn; cerebral circulation; TBI; plasminogen activators; signal transduction
10.  Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Regulates Pulmonary Arterial Contractility and Vascular Permeability in Mice 
The concentration of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) is elevated in pathological settings such as acute lung injury, where pulmonary arterial contractility and permeability are disrupted. uPA limits the accretion of fibrin after injury. Here we investigated whether uPA also regulates pulmonary arterial contractility and permeability. Contractility was measured using isolated pulmonary arterial rings. Pulmonary blood flow was measured in vivo by Doppler and pulmonary vascular permeability, according to the extravasation of Evans blue. Our data show that uPA regulates the in vitro pulmonary arterial contractility induced by phenylephrine in a dose-dependent manner through two receptor-dependent pathways, and regulates vascular contractility and permeability in vivo. Physiological concentrations of uPA (≤1 nM) stimulate the contractility of pulmonary arterial rings induced by phenylephrine through the low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein receptor. The procontractile effect of uPA is independent of its catalytic activity. At pathophysiological concentrations, uPA (20 nM) inhibits contractility and increases vascular permeability. The inhibition of vascular contractility and increase of vascular permeability is mediated through a two-step process that involves docking to N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor–1 (NMDA-R1) on pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cells, and requires catalytic activity. Peptides that specifically inhibit the docking of uPA to NMDA-R, or the uPA variant with a mutated receptor docking site, abolished both the effects of uPA on vascular contractility and permeability, without affecting its catalytic activity. These data show that uPA, at concentrations found under pathological conditions, reduces pulmonary arterial contractility and increases permeability though the activation of NMDA-R1. The selective inhibition of NMDAR-1 activation by uPA can be accomplished without a loss of fibrinolytic activity.
PMCID: PMC3262683  PMID: 21617202
urokinase; NMDA-R; lung; permeability
11.  Signaling, Delivery and Age as Emerging Issues in the Benefit/Risk Ratio Outcome of tPA For Treatment of CNS Ischemic Disorders 
Journal of neurochemistry  2010;113(2):303-312.
Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. While tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) remains the only FDA approved treatment for ischemic stroke, clinical use of tPA has been constrained to roughly 3% of eligible patients because of the danger of intracranial hemorrhage and a narrow 3h time window for safe administration. Basic science studies indicate that tPA enhances excitotoxic neuronal cell death. In this review, the beneficial and deleterious effects of tPA in ischemic brain are discussed along with emphasis on development of new approaches towards treatment of patients with acute ischemic stroke. In particular, roles of tPA induced signaling and a novel delivery system for tPA administration based on tPA coupling to carrier red blood cells will be considered as therapeutic modalities for increasing tPA benefit/risk ratio. The concept of the neurovascular unit will be discussed in the context of dynamic relationships between tPA-induced changes in cerebral hemodynamics and histopathologic outcome of CNS ischemia. Additionally, the role of age will be considered since thrombolytic therapy is being increasingly used in the pediatric population, but there are few basic science studies of CNS injury in pediatric animals.
PMCID: PMC3467975  PMID: 20405577
stroke; tissue plasminogen activator; cerebral ischemia; pediatric; neurovascular unit; signaling
12.  Structural Basis of Interaction between Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator and Its Receptor 
Journal of molecular biology  2006;363(2):482-495.
Recent studies indicate that binding of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) to its high affinity receptor (uPAR), orchestrates uPAR interactions with other cellular components that play a pivotal role in diverse (patho-)physiological processes including wound healing, angiogenesis, inflammation, and cancer metastasis. However, notwithstanding the wealth of biochemical data available describing the activities of uPAR, little is known as to the exact mode of uPAR-uPA interactions and the presumed conformational changes that accompanying uPA-uPAR engagement. Here we report the crystal structure of soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR), which contains the three domains of the wild-type receptor but lacks the cell surface anchoring sequence, in complex with the amino terminal fragment of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (ATF), at the resolution of 2.8 Å. We also report the 1.9 Å crystal structure of the free ATF. Our results provide a structural basis, represented by conformational changes induced in uPAR, for several published biochemical observations describing the nature of uPAR-uPA interactions and provide insight into mechanisms that may be responsible for the cellular responses induced by uPA binding.
PMCID: PMC3443620  PMID: 16979660
urokinase receptor; X-ray crystallography; protein-protein interactions; kringle domain; plasminogen
13.  Glucagon Protects Against Impaired NMDA-Mediated Cerebrovasodilation and Cerebral Autoregulation during Hypotension after Brain Injury by Activating cAMP Protein Kinase A and Inhibiting Upregulation of tPA 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2011;28(3):451-457.
Outcome of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is impaired by hyperglycemia, hypotension, and glutamate, and improved by insulin. Insulin reduces glutamate concentration, making it uncertain whether its beneficial effect accrues from euglycemia. Glucagon decreases CNS glutamate, lessens neuronal cell injury, and improves neurological scores in mice after TBI. In vitro, glucagon limits NMDA-mediated excitotoxicity by increasing cAMP and protein kinase A (PKA). NMDA receptor activation couples cerebral blood flow (CBF) to metabolism. Dilation induced by NMDA is impaired after fluid percussion brain injury (FPI) due to upregulation of endogenous tPA, which further disturbs cerebral autoregulation during hypotension after fluid percussion injury (FPI). We hypothesized that glucagon prevents impaired NMDA receptor-mediated dilation after FPI by upregulating cAMP, which decreases release of tPA. NMDA-induced pial artery dilation (PAD) was reversed to vasoconstriction after FPI. Glucagon 30 min before or 30 min after FPI blocked NMDA-mediated vasoconstriction and restored the response to vasodilation. PAD during hypotension was blunted after FPI, but protected by glucagon. Glucagon prevented FPI-induced reductions in CSF cAMP, yielding a net increase in cAMP, and blocked FPI-induced elevation of CSF tPA. Co-administration of the PKA antagonist Rp 8Br cAMPs prevented glucagon-mediated preservation of NMDA-mediated dilation after FPI. The pKA agonist Sp 8Br cAMPs prevented impairment of NMDA-induced dilation. These data indicate that glucagon protects against impaired cerebrovasodilation by upregulating cAMP, which decreases release of tPA, suggesting that it may provide neuroprotection when given after TBI, or prior to certain neurosurgical or cardiac interventions in which the incidence of perioperative ischemia is high.
PMCID: PMC3057207  PMID: 21375400
autoregulation; cerebral circulation; glucagon; NMDA; signal transduction; tPA; traumatic brain injury
14.  tPA Contributes To Impairment of ATP and Ca Sensitive K Channel Mediated Cerebrovasodilation After Hypoxia/Ischemia Through Upregulation of ERK MAPK 
Brain research  2010;1376:88-93.
The sole FDA approved treatment for acute stroke is tissue type plasminogen activator (tPA). However, tPA potentiates impairment of pial artery dilation in response to hypotension after hypoxia/ischemia (H/I) in pigs. ATP and Ca sensitive K channels (Katp and Kca) are important regulators of cerebrovascular tone and mediate cerebrovasodilation in response to hypotension. Mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK), a family of at least 3 kinases, ERK, p38 and JNK, is upregulated after H/I, with the ERK isoform contributing to vasodilator impairment. This study examined the effect of H/I on Katp and Kca induced pial artery dilation and the roles of tPA and ERK during/after injury in piglets equipped with a closed cranial window. H/I blunted vasodilation induced by the Katp agonists cromakalim, calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) and the Kca agonist NS 1619; the effect of each was exacerbated by tPA. Pre- or post-injury treatment with EEIIMD, a hexapeptide derived from plasminogen activator-1, and ERK antagonist U 0126 prevented Katp and Kca channel agonist induced vasodilator impairment while the inactive analogue EEIIMR had no effect. ERK was upregulated after H/I, which was potentiated by tPA. These data indicate that H/I impairs K channel mediated cerebrovasodilation. tPA augments loss of K channel function after injury by upregulating ERK. These data suggest that thrombolytic therapy for treatment of CNS ischemic disorders can dysregulate cerebrohemodynamics by impairing cation-mediated control of cerebrovascular tone.
PMCID: PMC3038175  PMID: 21182829
cerebral circulation; newborn; plasminogen activators; signal transduction; ischemia
15.  Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator Inhibits Efferocytosis of Neutrophils 
Rationale: Phagocytosis of apoptotic cells, also called efferocytosis, plays an essential role in the resolution of inflammation. Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) is a multifunctional protein that has been implicated in inflammatory conditions, including pneumonia and severe infection, which are often accompanied by the development of acute lung injury. However, the role of uPA in modulating efferocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils has not been defined.
Objectives: To characterize the role of uPA in regulation of efferocytosis and to delineate the underlying mechanisms involved in this process.
Methods: In vitro and in vivo phagocytosis, immunoprecipitation, and Western blotting assays.
Measurements and Main Results: The phagocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils by macrophages was significantly inhibited by uPA. Mutant uPA lacking the growth factor domain and catalytically inactive uPA had similar inhibitory effects on efferocytosis, as did wild-type uPA. In contrast, absence of the kringle domain abrogated the ability of uPA to diminish efferocytosis. Both the αVβ3 integrin and vitronectin seemed to be involved in the inhibition of efferocytosis by uPA. Incubation of macrophages with uPA also diminished activation of the small GTPase Rac-1, which normally occurs during ingestion of apoptotic neutrophils. Under in vivo conditions in the lungs, uPA decreased the uptake of apoptotic neutrophils by alveolar macrophages.
Conclusions: Our data demonstrate a novel role for uPA in which it is able to diminish the uptake of apoptotic neutrophils by macrophages under both in vitro and in vivo conditions.
PMCID: PMC3029937  PMID: 20656938
phagocytosis; integrin αvβ3; inflammation; acute lung injury
16.  Regulation of Airway Contractility by Plasminogen Activators through N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor–1 
Reactive airway disease is mediated by smooth muscle contraction initiated through several agonist-dependent pathways. Activation of type 1 N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDA-R1s) by plasminogen activators (PAs) has been linked to control of vascular tone, but their effect on airway smooth muscle contractility has not previously been studied to our knowledge. We observed that NMDA-R1s are expressed by human airway smooth muscle cells and constitutively inhibit the contraction of isolated rat tracheal rings in response to acetylcholine (Ach). Both tissue-type PA (tPA) and urokinase-type PA (uPA) bind to NMDA-R1 and reverse this effect, thereby enhancing Ach-induced tracheal contractility. Tracheal contractility initiated by Ach is reduced in rings isolated from tPA−/− and uPA−/− mice compared with their wild-type counterparts. The procontractile effect of uPA or tPA was mimicked and augmented by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, l-NAME. uPA and tPA further enhanced the contractility of rings denuded of epithelium, an effect that was inhibited by the NMDA-R antagonist, MK-801. Binding of PAs to NMDA-R1 and the subsequent activation of the receptor were inhibited by PA inhibitor type 1, by a PA inhibitor type 1–derived hexapeptide that recognizes the tPA and uPA docking domains, as well as by specific mutations within the docking site of tPA. These studies identify involvement of PAs and NMDA-R1 in airway contractility, and define new loci that could lead to the development of novel interventions for reactive airway disease.
PMCID: PMC2993090  PMID: 20097831
tissue plasminogen activator; urokinase NMDA receptor; lungs
17.  Interaction of high-molecular-weight kininogen with endothelial cell binding proteins suPAR, gC1qR and cytokeratin 1 determined by Surface Plasmon Resonance (BiaCore) 
Thrombosis and haemostasis  2011;105(6):1053-1059.
The physiologic activation of the plasma kallikrein-kinin system requires the assembly of its constituents on a cell membrane. High-molecular-weight kininogen (HK) and cleaved HK (HKa) both interact with at least three endothelial cell binding proteins: urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), globular C1q receptor (gC1qR,) and cytokeratin 1 (CK1). The affinity of HK and HKa for endothelial cells are KD=7–52 nM. The contribution of each protein is unknown. We examined the direct binding of HK and HKa to the soluble extracellular form of uPAR (suPAR), gC1qR and CK1 using surface plasmon resonance. Each binding protein linked to a CM-5 chip and the association, dissociation and KD (equilibrium constant) were measured. The interaction of HK and HKa with each binding protein was zinc-dependent. The affinity for HK and HKa was gC1qR>CK1>suPAR, indicating that gC1qR is dominant for binding. The affinity for HKa compared to HK was the same for gC1qR, 2.6-fold tighter for CK1 but 53-fold tighter for suPAR. Complex between binding proteins was only observed between gC1qR and CK1 indicating that a binary CK1-gC1qR complex can form independently of kininogen. Although suPAR has the weakest affinity of the three binding proteins, it is the only one that distinguished between HK and HKa. This finding indicates that uPAR may be a key membrane binding protein for differential binding and signalling between the cleaved and uncleaved forms of kininogen. The role of CK1 and gC1qR may be to initially bind HK to the membrane surface before productive cleavage to HKa.
PMCID: PMC3149827  PMID: 21544310
Kininogen; surface plasmon resonance; suPAR; gC1qR; cytokeratin 1
18.  Induction of Tissue Factor by Urokinase in Lung Epithelial Cells and in the Lungs 
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.
PMCID: PMC2894411  PMID: 20194819
urokinase; tissue factor; lung epithelial cells; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
19.  Neutrophil α-Defensins Cause Lung Injury by Disrupting the Capillary–Epithelial Barrier 
Rationale: The involvement of neutrophil activation in the sentinel, potentially reversible, events in the pathogenesis of acute lung injury (ALI) is only partially understood. α-Defensins are the most abundant proteins secreted by activated human neutrophils, but their contribution to ALI in mouse models is hindered by their absence from murine neutrophils and the inability to study their effects in isolation in other species.
Objectives: To study the role of α-defensins in the pathogenesis of ALI in a clinically relevant setting using mice transgenic for polymorphonuclear leukocyte expression of α-defensins.
Methods: Transgenic mice expressing polymorphonuclear leukocyte α-defensins were generated. ALI was induced by acid aspiration. Pulmonary vascular permeability was studied in vivo using labeled dextran and fibrin deposition. The role of the low-density lipoprotein–related receptor (LRP) in permeability was examined.
Measurements and Main Results: Acid aspiration induced neutrophil migration and release of α-defensins into lung parenchyma and airways. ALI was more severe in α-defensin–expressing mice than in wild-type mice, as determined by inspection, influx of neutrophils into the interstitial space and airways, histological evidence of epithelial injury, interstitial edema, extravascular fibrin deposition, impaired oxygenation, and reduced survival. Within 4 hours of insult, α-defensin–expressing mice showed greater disruption of capillary–epithelial barrier function and ALI that was attenuated by systemic or intratracheal administration of specific inhibitors of the LRP.
Conclusions: α-Defensins mediate ALI through LRP-mediated loss of capillary–epithelial barrier function, suggesting a potential new approach to intervention.
PMCID: PMC2862305  PMID: 20093642
acute lung injury; capillary–epithelial barrier; α-defensins; low-density lipoprotein–related receptor; receptor-associated protein
20.  Soluble urokinase receptor conjugated to carrier red blood cells binds latent pro-urokinase and alters its functional profile 
Coupling plasminogen activators to carrier red blood cells (RBC) prolongs their life-time in the circulation and restricts extravascular side effects, thereby allowing their utility for short-term thromboprophylaxis. Unlike constitutively active plasminogen activators, single chain urokinase plasminogen activator (scuPA) is activated by plasmin proteolysis or binding to its receptor, uPAR. In this study we conjugated recombinant soluble uPAR (suPAR) to rat RBC, forming RBC/suPAR complex. RBC carrying suPAR circulated in rats similarly to naïve RBC and markedly prolonged the circulation time of suPAR. RBC/suPAR carrying ~3×104 suPAR molecules per RBC specifically bound up to 2×104 molecules of scuPA, retained ~75% of scuPA binding capacity after circulation in rats and markedly altered the functional profile of bound scuPA. RBC carrying directly conjugated scuPA adhered to endothelial cells, while showing no appreciable fibrinolytic activity. In contrast, RBC/suPAR loaded with scuPA did not exhibit increased adhesion to endothelium, while effectively dissolving fibrin clots. This molecular design, capitalizing on unique biological features of the interaction of scuPA with its receptor, provides a promising modality to deliver a pro-drug for prevention of thrombosis.
PMCID: PMC2773161  PMID: 19616049
21.  Erythrocyte-Bound Tissue Plasminogen Activator is Neuroprotective in Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2009;26(9):1585-1592.
The purpose of this study was to test the effects of exogenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) in traumatic brain injury (TBI). We tested two different tPA formulations, free tPA and tPA bound to erythrocytes (RBC/tPA). Vehicle and each of the tPA treatments were injected intravenously into anesthetized rats 15 min after moderate lateral fluid percussion injury. The animals were sacrificed at 2 days for calculating microclot burden (n = 13) and IgG staining area (n = 13) in the brain sections as indicators of post-traumatic thrombosis and blood–brain barrier (BBB) breakdown, respectively. Another set of injured animals treated in the same way were sacrificed at 7 days to compare cortical lesion volumes (n = 28) and CA3 hippocampal cell loss (n = 24). All evaluations were done blinded with respect to treatment. No significant differences were found with respect to microclot burden or IgG staining volume. Injection of wild-type tPA caused significantly (p < 0.05) larger cortical injuries and greater cerebral hemorrhage. In contrast, there was significantly less cortical injury (p < 0.01) and hippocampal cell loss (p < 0.01) in the RBC/tPA group than in all other groups. These results reveal that RBC/tPA is more neuroprotective in experimental TBI than is unbound tPA.
PMCID: PMC2766435  PMID: 19331516
blood–brain barrier; microclots; tissue plasminogen activator; traumatic brain injury
22.  Anchoring Fusion Thrombomodulin to the Endothelial Lumen Protects against Injury-induced Lung Thrombosis and Inflammation 
Rationale: Endothelial thrombomodulin (TM) regulates thrombosis and inflammation. Diverse forms of pulmonary and vascular injury are accompanied by down-regulation of TM, which aggravates tissue injury. We postulated that anchoring TM to the endothelial surface would restore its protective functions.
Objectives: To design an effective and safe strategy to treat pulmonary thrombotic and inflammatory injury.
Methods: We synthesized a fusion protein, designated scFv/TM, by linking the extracellular domain of mouse TM to a single-chain variable fragment of an antibody to platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1). The targeting and protective functions of scFv/TM were tested in mouse models of lung ischemia-reperfusion and acute lung injury (ALI) caused by intratracheal endotoxin and hyperoxia, both of which caused approximately 50% reduction in the endogenous expression of TM.
Measurements and Main Results: Biochemical assays showed that scFv/TM accelerated protein C activation by thrombin and bound mouse PECAM-1 and cytokine high mobility group-B1. After intravenous injection, scFv/TM preferentially accumulated in the mouse pulmonary vasculature. In a lung model of ischemia-reperfusion injury, scFv/TM attenuated elevation of early growth response-1, inhibited pulmonary deposition of fibrin and leukocyte infiltration, and preserved blood oxygenation more effectively than soluble TM. In an ALI model, scFv/TM, but not soluble TM, suppressed activation of nuclear factor-κB, inflammation and edema in the lung and reduced mortality without causing hemorrhage.
Conclusions: Targeting TM to the endothelium using an scFv anchor enhances its antithrombotic and antiinflammatory effectiveness in models of ALI.
PMCID: PMC2724717  PMID: 19342415
vascular targeting; acute lung injury; PECAM-1; protein C; pulmonary endothelium
23.  Post-Transcriptional Regulation of Urokinase-type Plasminogen Activator Receptor Expression in Lipopolysaccharide-induced Acute Lung Injury 
Rationale: Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) receptor (uPAR) is required for the recruitment of neutrophils in response to infection. uPA induces its own expression in lung epithelial cells, which involves its interaction with cell surface uPAR. Regulation of uPAR expression is therefore crucial for uPA-mediated signaling in infectious acute lung injury (ALI).
Objectives: To determine the role of uPA in uPAR expression during ALI caused by sepsis.
Methods: We used Western blot, Northern blot, Northwestern assay, and immunohistochemistry. Phosphate-buffered saline– and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated wild-type and uPA−/− mice were used.
Measurements and Main Results: Biological activities of uPA, including proteolysis, cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, and differentiation, are dependent on its association with uPAR. Bacterial endotoxin (LPS) is a major cause of pulmonary dysfunction and infection-associated mortality. The present study shows that LPS induces uPAR expression both in vitro and in vivo, and that the mechanism involves post-transcriptional stabilization of uPAR mRNA by reciprocal interaction of phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C (hnRNPC) with uPAR mRNA coding region and 3′ untranslated region determinants, respectively. The process involves tyrosine phosphorylation of PGK and hnRNPC. uPA−/− mice failed to induce uPAR expression after LPS treatment. In these mice, LPS treatment failed to alter the binding of PGK and hnRNPC protein with uPAR mRNA due to lack of tyrosine phosphorylation.
Conclusions: Our study shows that induction of LPS-mediated uPAR expression is mediated through tyrosine phosphorylation of PGK and hnRNPC. This involves expression of uPA as an obligate intermediary.
PMCID: PMC2643078  PMID: 19029002
LPS; urokinase-type plasminogen activator; urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor; tyrosine phosphorylation
24.  Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Impairs SNP and PGE2 Cerebrovasodilation after Brain Injury through Activation of LRP and ERK MAPK 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2008;25(11):1375-1381.
Pial artery dilation in response to prostaglandin (PG)E2 and the nitric oxide (NO) releaser sodium nitroprus-side (SNP) are blunted after fluid percussion brain injury (FPI), whereas responses to papaverine are unchanged. Urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and ERK mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) are upregulated and contribute to the impairment of cerebrohemodynamics seen after FPI. PA vascular activity is mediated through the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LRP). Therefore, we investigated the role of uPA, LRP, and ERK MAPK in the impaired cerebrovasodilation response to PGE2 and SNP after FPI. Lateral FPI (2 atm) was induced in anesthetized piglets equipped with a closed cranial window. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) ERK MAPK was quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Pretreatment with soluble uPA receptor (su-PAR), which antagonizes the vascular action of uPA, blunted the impairment of SNP and PGE2-mediated dilation seen after FPI. Pretreatment with the LRP antagonist RAP, a monoclonal antibody against LRP (Mab ag LRP) and the ERK MAPK antagonist, U 0126, all provided similar protection, whereas control immunoglobulin G (IgG) had no effect. Responses to papaverine were unchanged after FPI. Upregulation of ERK MAPK phosphorylation in CSF after FPI was blunted in animals pretreated with suPAR, RAP, MAb ag LRP, or U 0126, whereas control IgG had no effect. These data indicate that uPA contributes to the impairment of SNP and PGE2-mediated cerebrovasodilation seen after brain injury through activation of LRP and ERK MAPK.
PMCID: PMC2948470  PMID: 19061381
cerebral circulation; newborn; plasminogen activators; signal transduction
25.  uPA Impairs Cerebrovasodilation After Hypoxia/Ischemia Through LRP and ERK MAPK 
Brain research  2008;1231:121-131.
We have previously observed that soluble urokinase plasminogn activator receptor (suPAR) prevents impairment of cerebrovasodilation induced by hypercapnia and hypotension after hypoxia/ischemia (H/I) in the newborn pig. In this study, we investigated the role of low-density lipoprotein related protein (LRP) receptor and the ERK isoform of mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) in uPA-mediated impairment of vasodilation after H/I in piglets equipped with a closed cranial window. CSF uPA increased from 9 ± 2 to 52 ± 8 and 140 ± 21 ng/ml at 1 and 4h after H/I, respectively. The LRP antagonist receptor associated protein (RAP) and anti-LRP antibody blunted the increase in CSF uPA at 1h (17 ± 2 ng/ml) but not 4h post insult. uPA detectable in sham-treated cortex by immunhistochemistry was markedly elevated 4h after H/I. Phosphorylation (activation) of CSF ERK MAPK was detected at 1 and 4h post H/I and blocked by RAP. Exogenous uPA administered at 4h post H/I further stimulated ERK MAPK phosphorylation, which was blocked by RAP. Pre-treatment of piglets with RAP, anti-LRP, and suPAR completely prevented, and the ERK MAPK antagonist U 0126 partially prevented, impaired responses to hypotension and hypercapnia post H/I, but none of these antagonists affected the response to isoproterenol. These data indicate that uPA is upregulated after H/I through an LRP-dependent process and that the released uPA impairs hypercapnic and hypotensive dilation through an LRP- and ERK MAPK dependent pathway. These data suggest that modulation of uPA upregulation and/or uPA-mediated signal transduction may preserve cerebrohemodynamic control after hypoxia/ischemia.
PMCID: PMC2572778  PMID: 18656457
cerebral circulation; newborn; plasminogen activators; signal transduction; ischemia

Results 1-25 (31)