Gene Summary

Gene:PLAUR; plasminogen activator, urokinase receptor
Aliases: CD87, UPAR, URKR, U-PAR
Summary:This gene encodes the receptor for urokinase plasminogen activator and, given its role in localizing and promoting plasmin formation, likely influences many normal and pathological processes related to cell-surface plasminogen activation and localized degradation of the extracellular matrix. It binds both the proprotein and mature forms of urokinase plasminogen activator and permits the activation of the receptor-bound pro-enzyme by plasmin. The protein lacks transmembrane or cytoplasmic domains and may be anchored to the plasma membrane by a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI) moiety following cleavage of the nascent polypeptide near its carboxy-terminus. However, a soluble protein is also produced in some cell types. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms. The proprotein experiences several post-translational cleavage reactions that have not yet been fully defined. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:urokinase plasminogen activator surface receptor
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Gene Expression
  • Disease Progression
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Up-Regulation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Angiogenesis
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Western Blotting
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Staging
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Xenograft Models
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Transfection
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Transcription
  • Breast Cancer
  • Cell Surface Receptors
  • Messenger RNA
  • Promoter Regions
  • Chromosome 19
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • Lung Cancer
  • Transcription Factors
  • Cancer RNA
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Down-Regulation
  • beta Catenin
  • Plasminogen Activators
  • Cell Movement
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: PLAUR (cancer-related)

Nishi H, Sasaki T, Nagamitsu Y, et al.
Hypoxia inducible factor-1 mediates upregulation of urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor gene transcription during hypoxia in cervical cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(2):992-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hypoxia occurs during development of cervical cancer and is considered to correlate with its invasion. Hypoxia mediates tumor cells to have more invasive property in a variety of cancers. Urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) which mediates invasion is considered to be induced by hypoxia. We sought to determine the regulators of uPAR expression during hypoxia in cervical cancer. We showed that cervical cancer cell lines, CaSki and CA, were more invasive under hypoxic condition (1% O2) than under normoxic condition (20% O2) by invasion assays. Using western blot analysis, hypoxia enhanced the endogenous hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α and uPAR protein expression. uPAR mRNA level was also upregulated by hypoxia using real-time RT-PCR. Overexpression of HIF-1α which is induced by hypoxia activated the transcriptional activity of the uPAR promoter by luciferase assays. HIF-1 protein bound the putative HIF-1 response element on the uPAR promoter using electrophoretic mobility shift analysis, and additional luciferase assays show that this is essential for uPAR transactivation by HIF-1. HIF-1 overexpression enhanced the endogenous uPAR expression and introduction of siRNA for HIF-1α diminishes uPAR expression during hypoxia. These results indicate the upregulation of uPAR by hypoxia in cervical cancer cells is mediated through HIF-1. In cervical cancer tissues, we also demonstrated that uPAR protein expression was detected in cervical cancer but not in normal cervix or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) by immunohistopathological staining. Our results provide evidence that regulation of uPAR expression by HIF-1 represents a mechanism for cervical cancer invasion during hypoxia.

Vishnoi M, Peddibhotla S, Yin W, et al.
The isolation and characterization of CTC subsets related to breast cancer dormancy.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:17533 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Uncovering CTCs phenotypes offer the promise to dissect their heterogeneity related to metastatic competence. CTC survival rates are highly variable and this can lead to many questions as yet unexplored properties of CTCs responsible for invasion and metastasis vs dormancy. We isolated CTC subsets from peripheral blood of patients diagnosed with or without breast cancer brain metastasis. CTC subsets were selected for EpCAM negativity but positivity for CD44(+)/CD24(-) stem cell signature; along with combinatorial expression of uPAR and int β1, two markers directly implicated in breast cancer dormancy mechanisms. CTC subsets were cultured in vitro generating 3D CTC tumorspheres which were interrogated for biomarker profiling and biological characteristics. We identified proliferative and invasive properties of 3D CTC tumorspheres distinctive upon uPAR/int β1 combinatorial expression. The molecular characterization of uPAR/int β1 CTC subsets may enhance abilities to prospectively identify patients who may be at high risk of developing BCBM.

Ryu J, Yoon NA, Seong H, et al.
Resveratrol Induces Glioma Cell Apoptosis through Activation of Tristetraprolin.
Mol Cells. 2015; 38(11):991-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tristetraprolin (TTP) is an AU-rich elements (AREs)-binding protein, which regulates the decay of AREs-containing mRNAs such as proto-oncogenes, anti-apoptotic genes and immune regulatory genes. Despite the low expression of TTP in various human cancers, the mechanism involving suppressed expression of TTP is not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that Resveratrol (3,5,4'-trihydroxystilbene, Res), a naturally occurring compound, induces glioma cell apoptosis through activation of tristetraprolin (TTP). Res increased TTP expression in U87MG human glioma cells. Res-induced TTP destabilized the urokinase plasminogen activator and urokinase plasminogen activator receptor mRNAs by binding to the ARE regions containing the 3' untranslated regions of their mRNAs. Furthermore, TTP induced by Res suppressed cell growth and induced apoptosis in the human glioma cells. Because of its regulation of TTP expression, these findings suggest that the bioactive dietary compound Res can be used as a novel anti-cancer agent for the treatment of human malignant gliomas.

Chen W, Yang L
Targeted Delivery with Imaging Assessment of siRNA Expressing Nanocassettes into Cancer.
Methods Mol Biol. 2016; 1372:49-59 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Molecular therapy using small interfering RNA (siRNA) shows great promise in the development of novel therapeutics for cancer. Although various approaches have been developed for in vivo delivery of siRNAs into tumors, stability of siRNA in blood circulation, and low efficiency of siRNA delivery into tumor cells are the major obstacles for further translation into cancer therapeutics. In this protocol, we describe methods of the production of shRNA expressing DNA nanocassettes by PCR amplification of double-stranded DNA fragments containing a U6 promoter and a shRNA gene. Those DNA nanocassettes can be conjugated to the polymer coating of nanoparticles that are targeted to cellular receptors highly expressed in tumor cells, such as urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), for targeted delivery and receptor mediated internalization of shRNA expressing DNA nanocassettes. Methods for in vitro and in vivo evaluation of target specificity and gene-knockdown effect are also provided.

Bedal KB, Grässel S, Spanier G, et al.
The NC11 domain of human collagen XVI induces vasculogenic mimicry in oral squamous cell carcinoma cells.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(11):1429-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
Collagen XVI, a fibril-associated collagen with interrupted triple helix (FACIT) collagen, is involved in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and glioblastoma progression. The NC11 domain of collagen XVI has been described previously with a strong implication in physiological processes. We detected the non-collagenous (NC) 11-domain in supernatants of OSCC cells after recombinant expression of full-length collagen XVI and in sera from OSCC patients and healthy individuals. Stable expression of NC11-green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion protein in OSCC cells initiated proliferation control and block of anchorage-independent growth. Moreover, the NC11 domain triggered the generation of tubular-like net structures on laminin-rich matrix in contrast to mock-GFP control cells and cells expressing full-length collagen XVI. Taqman® quantitative PCR and diaminobenzidine staining in 2D- and 3D cell culture revealed a significantly increased gene and protein expression of VEGFR1, VEGFR2 and uPAR in recombinant NC11-GFP-expressing cells. Specific VEGF receptor inhibition with Axitinib or fetal calf serum heat inactivation prevented formation of tubular-like net structures. Accordantly, NC11-GFP coated culture slides led to an increase of focal adhesion contact formation and the upregulation of VEGFR1 and uPAR in three different non-transfected OSCC cell lines. In summary, we suggest that the NC11 domain of collagen XVI is a potential biomarker for OSCC and triggers vasculogenic mimicry via upregulation of endothelial receptors VEGFR1, VEGFR2 and uPAR in 2D- and 3D OSCC cell culture conditions.

Cantor DI, Cheruku HR, Nice EC, Baker MS
Integrin αvβ6 sets the stage for colorectal cancer metastasis.
Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2015; 34(4):715-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
The β6 subunit of the αvβ6 integrin heterodimer has long been an enigma in cancer biology though recent research has provided many new insights into its biology. Collectively, these findings include discovery of the transcriptional, translational and cell biological mechanisms by which β6 acts, the identification of the cellular influences β6 exerts upon the cell proteome, the characterisation of multiple β6-centric pro-metastatic signalling systems and the search for pharmacological therapies (industry and academia) targeted against β6. Once expressional restriction is overcome in early colorectal cancer (CRC), epithelial cell surface restricted αvβ6 can physically interact with, and activate, known oncoproteins, and has the potential to enable the cross-talk through non-canonical signal transduction pathways, resulting in the adoption of an invasive/metastatic phenotype. This recent research has identified numerous interconnections and potential feedback loops, highlighting the fact that the expression of the β6 subunit may initiate a cascade of downstream effects on the CRC cell rather than acting through a single mechanism. We here review these recent studies and postulate that the existence of a cell surface uPAR/αvβ6/TGFβ "metastasome" interactome in/on a proportion of colorectal cancer cells, where β6 expression sequesters and activates multiple systems at the invasive front of tumour lesions, promoting cancer metastasis and hence explaining why β6 has been correlated with reduced patient survival in CRC.

Endo-Munoz L, Cai N, Cumming A, et al.
Progression of Osteosarcoma from a Non-Metastatic to a Metastatic Phenotype Is Causally Associated with Activation of an Autocrine and Paracrine uPA Axis.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(8):e0133592 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pulmonary metastasis is the major untreatable complication of osteosarcoma (OS) resulting in 10-20% long-term survival. The factors and pathways regulating these processes remain unclear, yet their identification is crucial in order to find new therapeutic targets. In this study we used a multi-omics approach to identify molecules in metastatic and non-metastatic OS cells that may contribute to OS metastasis, followed by validation in vitro and in vivo. We found elevated levels of the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and of the uPA receptor (uPAR) exclusively in metastatic OS cells. uPA was secreted in soluble form and as part of the protein cargo of OS-secreted extracellular vesicles, including exosomes. In addition, in the tumour microenvironment, uPA was expressed and secreted by bone marrow cells (BMC), and OS- and BMC-derived uPA significantly and specifically stimulated migration of metastatic OS cells via uPA-dependent signaling pathways. Silencing of uPAR in metastatic OS cells abrogated the migratory response to uPA in vitro and decreased metastasis in vivo. Finally, a novel small-molecule inhibitor of uPA significantly (P = 0.0004) inhibited metastasis in an orthotopic mouse model of OS. Thus, we show for the first time that malignant conversion of OS cells to a metastatic phenotype is defined by activation of the uPA/uPAR axis in both an autocrine and paracrine fashion. Furthermore, metastasis is driven by changes in OS cells as well as in the microenvironment. Finally, our data show that pharmacological inhibition of the uPA/uPAR axis with a novel small-molecule inhibitor can prevent the emergence of metastatic foci.

Maliandi MV, Mato-Berciano A, Sobrevals L, et al.
AduPARE1A and gemcitabine combined treatment trigger synergistic antitumor effects in pancreatic cancer through NF-κB mediated uPAR activation.
Mol Cancer. 2015; 14:146 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Combined treatment of oncolytic adenoviruses with chemotherapeutic agents is foreseen as a therapeutic option for cancer. Here we have investigated the potential to use gemcitabine in combination with the oncolytic adenovirus AduPARE1A to treat pancreatic cancer and evaluate the underlying mechanism.
METHODS: We treated pancreatic cancer cell lines BxPC-3 and PANC-1 with AduPARE1A and gemcitabine individually or in combination and analyzed cell viability, combination index, apoptosis and viral production. We also investigated the effects of the combination on tumor growth and mice survival in two xenograft models. Furthermore, we analyzed uPAR promoter activity from different uPAR-controlled adenovirus and studied NF-κB mediated effects.
RESULTS: Synergistic cell killing from the combination AduPARE1A/Gemcitabine was observed in BxPC-3 and PANC-1 cells. Moreover, the combination treatment produced therapeutic benefits over either individual modality in two mouse models bearing orthotopic tumors, showing reduced tumor progression and significant prolonged mouse survival. Mechanistic studies showed that the synergistic cell death was not due to an increase in viral replication but occurred through an enhancement of apoptotic cell death. Gemcitabine stimulation increased the transcription of uPAR-controlled transgenes through the induction of NF-κB acting on the uPAR promoter. Interestingly, NF-κB gemcitabine-mediated induction of AduPAR adenoviruses interfered with the activation of NF-κB regulated genes, probably as a result of an intracellular competition for NF-κB DNA binding. Consequently, AduPARE1A infection sensitized cells to gemcitabine-induced apoptosis in the combined treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: These data highlights the potential of the combination as a treatment modality for pancreatic cancer patients.

Phoon YP, Cheung AK, Cheung FM, et al.
IKBB tumor suppressive role in nasopharyngeal carcinoma via NF-κB-mediated signalling.
Int J Cancer. 2016; 138(1):160-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) play a prominent role in cancer and are important in the development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), which is endemic in Southern China as well as Southeast Asia. Apart from TSGs, aberrant signalling pathways are also commonly associated with tumor progression. Unsurprisingly, the NF-κB pathway is frequently associated with angiogenesis and promoting tumor growth and development. Functional complementation studies using microcell-mediated chromosome transfer helped to identify IKBB as a putative TSG in NPC. IKBB, an inhibitor of NF-κB, has recently been shown to be inversely associated with tumor growth and metastasis via inactivation of the NF-κB pathway, but its suppressive role is still only poorly understood. This study takes the lead in revealing the suppressive role of IKBB in NPC. IKBB is silenced in the majority of NPC tumor tissues in all stages. Its suppressive role is substantiated by perturbation in tumor formation, cell migration and angiogenesis. Interestingly, IKBB not only affects the 'seed', but also influences the 'soil' by downregulating the transcriptional level of proangiogenic factors Rantes, Upar, IL6, and IL8. For the first time, our data establish the importance of a novel tumor suppressive IKBB gene in abrogating angiogenesis in NPC via the NF-κB signalling pathway, which is likely mediated by crosstalk with the Akt/Gsk3β signalling pathway.

Nahm JH, Kim H, Lee H, et al.
Transforming acidic coiled-coil-containing protein 3 (TACC3) overexpression in hepatocellular carcinomas is associated with "stemness" and epithelial-mesenchymal transition-related marker expression and a poor prognosis.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(1):393-403 [PubMed] Related Publications
There is accumulating evidence that hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) expressing "stemness"-related markers, e.g., keratin 19 (K19) and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), are associated with aggressive biological behavior. In order to further investigate the molecular characteristics of this subgroup of HCCs, we examined copy number alterations of K19-positive and K19-negative HCCs and found frequent amplifications of the 4p16.3 locus containing the TACC3 gene, which has previously not been described in HCCs. We performed an immunohistochemical analysis of transforming acidic coiled-coil-containing protein 3 (TACC3) expression in HCCs in whole tissue sections and tissue microarrays and examined the clinicopathological characteristics of TACC3-overexpressing HCCs in relation to stemness-related marker (K19, EpCAM) expression, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related proteins, and survival. Cytoplasmic TACC3 protein expression was seen in 7/7 whole tissue sections of K19-positive HCCs, while TACC3 expression was negative or patchy in K19-negative cases. In the tissue microarray cohort, TACC3 was overexpressed in 105/188 (55.9 %) HCCs and was associated with poor differentiation (p = 0.028), major vascular invasion (p = 0.039), higher tumor stages (p = 0.015), younger age (p = 0.003), higher proliferative activity (p < 0.001), and more frequent multipolar mitoses (p < 0.001). TACC3 expression was significantly correlated with K19 (p = 0.010) and EpCAM (p < 0.001) positivity. In addition, TACC3 overexpression was associated with frequent expression of S100A4, uPAR, and ezrin (p < 0.001, all) and loss of E-cadherin expression (p = 0.014), and overall survival was significantly decreased in patients with TACC3-positive HCCs (p = 0.014). In conclusion, TACC3 overexpression was associated with clinicopathological features of aggressiveness, increased EMT-related protein expression, and poor survival, suggesting a potential role for TACC3 as a prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target in HCC.

Su M, Chang W, Wang D, et al.
Expression and activity analysis of a new fusion protein targeting ovarian cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 34(3):1337-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of the present study was to develop a new therapeutic drug to improve the prognosis of ovarian cancer patients. Human urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA)17-34-kunitz-type protease inhibitor (KPI) eukaryotic expression vector was constructed and recombinant human uPA17-34-KPI (rhuPA17-34-KPI) in P. pastoris was expressed. In the present study, the DNA sequences that encode uPA 17-34 amino acids were created according to the native amino acids sequence and inserted into the KPI-pPICZαC vector, which was constructed. Then, uPA17‑34-KPI-pPICZαC was transformed into P. pastoris X-33, and rhuPA17-34-KPI was expressed by induction of methanol. The bioactivities of a recombinant fusion protein were detected with trypsin inhibition analysis, and the inhibitory effects on the growth of ovarian cancer cells were identified using the TUNEL assay, in vitro wound‑healing assay and Matrigel model analysis. The results of the DNA sequence analysis of the recombinant vector uPA17-34-KPI‑pPICZα demonstrated that the DNA‑encoding human uPA 17-34 amino acids, 285-288 amino acids of amyloid precursor protein (APP) and 1-57 amino acids of KPI were correctly inserted into the pPICZαC vector. Following induction by methonal, the fusion protein with a molecular weight of 8.8 kDa was observed using SDS-PAGE and western blot analysis. RhuPA17-34-KPI was expressed in P. pastoris with a yield of 50 mg/l in a 50-ml tube. The recombinant fusion protein was able to inhibit the activity of trypsin, inhibit growth and induce apoptosis of SKOV3 cells, and inhibit the invasion and metastasis of ovarian cancer cells. By considering uPA17-34 amino acid specific binding uPAR as the targeted part of fusion protein and utilizing the serine protease inhibitor activity of KPI, it was found that the recombinant fusion protein uPA17-34-KPI inhibited the invasion and metastasis of ovarian tumors, and may therefore be regarded as effective in targeted treatment.

Alfano D, Gorrasi A, Li Santi A, et al.
Urokinase receptor and CXCR4 are regulated by common microRNAs in leukaemia cells.
J Cell Mol Med. 2015; 19(9):2262-72 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) receptor (uPAR) focuses uPA proteolytic activity on the cell membrane, promoting localized degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM), and binds vitronectin (VN), mediating cell adhesion to the ECM. uPAR-bound uPA and VN induce proteolysis-independent intracellular signalling, regulating cell adhesion, migration, survival and proliferation. uPAR cross-talks with CXCR4, the receptor for the stroma-derived factor 1 chemokine. CXCR4 is crucial in the trafficking of hematopoietic stem cells from/to the bone marrow, which involves also uPAR. Both uPAR and CXCR4 are expressed in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), with a lower expression in undifferentiated and myeloid subsets, and higher expression in myelomonocytic and promyelocytic subsets. We hypothesized a microRNA (miR)-mediated co-regulation of uPAR and CXCR4 expression, which could allow their cross-talk at the cell surface. We identified three miRs, miR-146a, miR-335 and miR-622, regulating the expression of both uPAR and CXCR4 in AML cell lines. Indeed, these miRs directly target the 3'untranslated region of both uPAR- and CXCR4-mRNAs; accordingly, uPAR/CXCR4 expression is reduced by their overexpression in AML cells and increased by their specific inhibitors. Overexpression of all three miRs impairs migration, invasion and proliferation of myelomonocytic cells. Interestingly, we observed an inverse relationship between uPAR/CXCR4 expression and miR-146a and miR-335 levels in AML blasts, suggesting their possible role in the regulation of uPAR/CXCR4 expression also in vivo.

Hedbrant A, Wijkander J, Seidal T, et al.
Macrophages of M1 phenotype have properties that influence lung cancer cell progression.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(11):8715-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
Stromal macrophages of different phenotypes can contribute to the expression of proteins that affects metastasis such as urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), its receptor uPAR, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), but knowledge of how essential their contribution is in comparison to the cancer cells in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is lacking. The expression of uPA, uPAR, and PAI-1 and of the matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 were studied in human macrophages of M1 and M2 phenotype and compared to a lung SCC (NCI-H520) and a SCLC (NCI-H69) cell line. Effects of treatment with conditioned media (CM) from M1 and M2 macrophages on the expression of these genes in H520 and H69 cells as well as effects on the cell growth were investigated. In addition, data on the stromal macrophages immunoreactivity of uPAR, MMP-2, and MMP-9 in a few SCC and SCLC biopsies was included. uPAR, MMP-2, and MMP-9 were confirmed in stromal cells including macrophages in the SCC and SCLC biopsies. In vitro, both macrophage phenotypes expressed considerably higher mRNA levels of uPA, uPAR, PAI-1, and MMP-9 compared to the cancer cell lines, and regarding uPAR, the highest level was found in the M1 macrophage phenotype. Furthermore, M1 CM treatment not only induced an upregulation of PAI-1 in both H520 and H69 cells but also inhibited cell growth in both cell lines, giving M1 macrophages both tumor-promoting and tumor-killing potential.

Hou J, Li X, Li C, et al.
Plasma membrane gp96 enhances invasion and metastatic potential of liver cancer via regulation of uPAR.
Mol Oncol. 2015; 9(7):1312-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Targeted therapy is currently under intensive investigation due to the resistance of liver cancer to cytotoxic chemotherapies. Dissecting the molecular events that drive the progression of liver cancer and defining specific targets are urgently needed to develop efficient tailored therapies. Cell membrane gp96 (mgp96) has been implicated in tumor growth and malignancy. Here, we explored the functional and clinical relevance of mgp96 in liver cancer. We found that elevated mgp96 abundance was associated with tumor metastasis and recurrence in patients with primary liver tumors. Decreased KDELR1 levels in hepatoma cells contribute to cell membrane translocation of the normally ER-resident gp96. Urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) was identified as a mgp96 client protein, and mgp96 stabilized uPAR protein. Our clinical results proved that elevated mgp96 abundance is positively correlated with uPAR expression levels in liver tumors. We further provided evidence that targeting mgp96 with siRNA or a specific mAb that blocked the mgp96-uPAR interaction led to inhibited cell growth, survival, and invasion in vitro, as well as the suppression of liver tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. mgp96 promotes liver cancer progression through increasing the protein stability and signaling of uPAR, and may be a new promising target for suppressing uPAR-mediated tumor growth and metastasis in liver cancer.

Gilder AS, Jones KA, Hu J, et al.
Soluble Urokinase Receptor Is Released Selectively by Glioblastoma Cells That Express Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Variant III and Promotes Tumor Cell Migration and Invasion.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(24):14798-809 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genomic heterogeneity is characteristic of glioblastoma (GBM). In many GBMs, the EGF receptor gene (EGFR) is amplified and may be truncated to generate a constitutively active form of the receptor called EGFRvIII. EGFR gene amplification and EGFRvIII are associated with GBM progression, even when only a small fraction of the tumor cells express EGFRvIII. In this study, we show that EGFRvIII-positive GBM cells express significantly increased levels of cellular urokinase receptor (uPAR) and release increased amounts of soluble uPAR (suPAR). When mice were xenografted with human EGFRvIII-expressing GBM cells, tumor-derived suPAR was detected in the plasma, and the level was significantly increased compared with that detected in plasma samples from control mice xenografted with EGFRvIII-negative GBM cells. suPAR also was increased in plasma from patients with EGFRvIII-positive GBMs. Purified suPAR was biologically active when added to cultures of EGFRvIII-negative GBM cells, activating cell signaling and promoting cell migration and invasion. suPAR did not significantly stimulate cell signaling or migration of EGFRvIII-positive cells, probably because cell signaling was already substantially activated in these cells. The activities of suPAR were replicated by conditioned medium (CM) from EGFRvIII-positive GBM cells. When the CM was preincubated with uPAR-neutralizing antibody or when uPAR gene expression was silenced in cells used to prepare CM, the activity of the CM was significantly attenuated. These results suggest that suPAR may function as an important paracrine signaling factor in EGFRvIII-positive GBMs, inducing an aggressive phenotype in tumor cells that are EGFRvIII-negative.

Laurenzana A, Biagioni A, Bianchini F, et al.
Inhibition of uPAR-TGFβ crosstalk blocks MSC-dependent EMT in melanoma cells.
J Mol Med (Berl). 2015; 93(7):783-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The capacity of cancer cells to undergo epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is now considered a hallmark of tumor progression, and it is known that interactions between cancer cells and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) of tumor microenvironment may promote this program. Herein, we demonstrate that MSC-conditioned medium (MSC-CM) is a potent inducer of EMT in melanoma cells. The EMT profile acquired by MSC-CM-exposed melanoma cells is characterized by an enhanced level of mesenchymal markers, including TGFβ/TGFβ-receptors system upregulation, by increased invasiveness and uPAR expression, and in vivo tumor growth. Silencing TGFβ in MSC is found to abrogate ability of MSC to promote EMT characteristics in melanoma cells, together with uPAR expression, and this finding is strengthened using an antagonist peptide of TGFβRIII, the so-called P17. Finally, we demonstrate that the uPAR antisense oligonucleotide (uPAR aODN) may inhibit EMT of melanoma cells either stimulated by exogenous TGFβ or MSC-CM. Thus, uPAR upregulation in melanoma cells exposed to MSC-medium drives TGFβ-mediated EMT. On the whole, TGFβ/uPAR dangerous liaison in cancer cell/MSC interactions may disclose a new strategy to abrogate melanoma progression.
KEY MESSAGE: Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-conditioned medium induces EMT-like profile in melanoma. MSC-derived TGFβ promotes uPAR and TGFβ/TGFβ-receptor upregulation in melanoma. TGFβ gene silencing in MSCs downregulates uPAR expression and EMT in melanoma. uPAR downregulation prevents MSC-induced EMT-like profile in melanoma cells. Inhibition of the dangerous TGFβ/uPAR relationship might abrogate melanoma progression.

Li Y, Sun B, Zhao X, et al.
Subpopulations of uPAR+ contribute to vasculogenic mimicry and metastasis in large cell lung cancer.
Exp Mol Pathol. 2015; 98(2):136-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
The urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is closely associated with poor prognosis in various aggressive cancers including large-cell lung cancer (LCLC). Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) refers to the unique capability of aggressive tumor cells to mimic the pattern of embryonic vasculogenic networks involving the blood supply in early tumor formation. We demonstrate the statistically positive correlation of uPAR expression with VM formation, metastasis, and poor prognosis of LCLC patients. uPAR(+) cells sorted from the LCLC H460 cell line show higher invasion, migration capacity, and tube structure formation capability on Matrigel compared with uPAR(-) cells. uPAR(+) tumor cells highly expressed vimentin and VE-cadherin; the epithelial marker E-cadherin was low expressed. Higher EMT-regulated protein twist and snail expressions were also observed in these cells. uPAR(+) cells injected subcutaneously into nude mice markedly increased tumor growth, induced VM formation and liver metastasis; by contrast, uPAR(-) cells did not. The data suggest that uPAR expression may predict VM formation, tumor metastasis and poorer prognosis of LCLC patients. The uPAR gene may be used as a novel therapeutic target for inhibiting angiogenesis and metastasis in LCLC.

Kozlova N, Samoylenko A, Drobot L, Kietzmann T
Urokinase is a negative modulator of Egf-dependent proliferation and motility in the two breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231.
Mol Carcinog. 2016; 55(2):170-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is involved in the regulation of various cellular processes and dysregulation of its signalling plays a critical role in the etiology of a variety of malignancies like breast cancer. At the same time, elevated levels of urokinase (uPA), its receptor uPAR, and other components of the plasminogen activation system are found to be correlated with a poor prognosis in breast cancer. Interestingly, EGFR appears to participate in transducing the signal generated upon binding of uPA to uPAR. However, whether uPA signalling would thereby interfere with ligand-driven EGFR signalling was not described before. Therefore, it was the aim of the present study to investigate the combined effects of uPA and EGF in the low invasive and high invasive breast adenocarcinoma cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231, respectively. Simultaneous exposure of cells to both signals negatively affected ERK1/2 and AKT activation whereas positive effects on p38 and Src kinase phosphorylation were noted in both cell lines. Furthermore, uPA attenuated the mitogenic effect of EGF on cellular proliferation, invasion and motility in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. Experiments with the uPA amino terminal fragment (ATF) revealed that the negative effects of uPA were independent from its protease activity. Together, these data suggest that enhanced levels of uPA in breast cancer modulate the mitogenic effects of EGF and thus, this knowledge may help to better understand breast cancer pathogenesis as well as to develop new therapeutic options.

Ryu J, Yoon NA, Lee YK, et al.
Tristetraprolin inhibits the growth of human glioma cells through downregulation of urokinase plasminogen activator/urokinase plasminogen activator receptor mRNAs.
Mol Cells. 2015; 38(2):156-62 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) play a major role in the infiltrative growth of glioblastoma. Downregulatoion of the uPA and uPAR has been reported to inhibit the growth glioblastoma. Here, we demonstrate that tristetraprolin (TTP) inhibits the growth of U87MG human glioma cells through downregulation of uPA and uPAR. Our results show that expression level of TTP is inversely correlated with those of uPA and uPAR in human glioma cells and tissues. TTP binds to the AU-rich elements within the 3' untranslated regions of uPA and uPAR and overexpression of TTP decreased the expression of uPA and uPAR through enhancing the degradation of their mRNAs. In addition, overexpression of TTP inhibited the growth and invasion of U87MG cells. Our findings implicate that TTP can be used as a promising therapeutic target to treat human glioma.

Qi M, Liu Z, Shen C, et al.
Overexpression of ETV4 is associated with poor prognosis in prostate cancer: involvement of uPA/uPAR and MMPs.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(5):3565-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
ETS gene fusions involving ERG, ETV1, ETV4, ETV5, and FLI1 define a distinct class of prostate cancer (PCa), and this might have a bearing on diagnosis, prognosis, and rational therapeutic targeting. In the current study, we focused on the clinicopathological significance of ETV4 in Chinese PCa patients and the mechanisms whereby ETV4 overexpression mediates tumor invasion in the prostate. Overall, ETV4 overexpression was identified in 30.4 % (45/148) of PCa cases by immunohistochemistry. Accordingly, ETV4 was rearranged in only 1.6 % (2/128) of PCa patients. Clinically, ETV4 overexpression was significantly correlated with Gleason score (P = 0.045) and pathological tumor stage (P = 0.041). Multivariate Cox regression analysis indicated that ETV4 is an unfavorable independent prognostic factor (P = 0.040). Functional studies further showed that small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of ETV4 significantly decreases proliferation and invasion of PC-3 cell and partially reverses epithelial-mesenchymal transition in vitro. Notably, ETV4 knockdown significantly downregulated expression of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor (uPAR) at messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein levels. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay demonstrated that ETV4 regulates uPA expression through direct binding to its promoter region. Additionally, ETV4 knockdown was also observed to significantly inhibit expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9. In conclusion, for the first time, our study suggested that ETV4 is an independent poor prognostic factor in Chinese PCa patients. Silencing of ETV4 suppresses invasion of PCa cells by inhibiting the expression of uPA/uPAR as well as MMPs. Further studies will be needed to determine whether ETV4 could be regarded as a potential target for the management and prevention of PCa.

Milone MR, Pucci B, Bifulco K, et al.
Proteomic analysis of zoledronic-acid resistant prostate cancer cells unveils novel pathways characterizing an invasive phenotype.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(7):5324-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Proteomic analysis identified differentially expressed proteins between zoledronic acid-resistant and aggressive DU145R80 prostate cancer (PCa) cells and their parental DU145 cells. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) showed a strong relationship between the identified proteins within a network associated with cancer and with homogeneous cellular functions prevalently related with regulation of cell organization, movement and consistent with the smaller and reduced cell-cell contact morphology of DU145R80 cells. The identified proteins correlated in publically available human PCa genomic data with increased tumor expression and aggressiveness. DU145R80 exhibit also a clear increase of alpha-v-(αv) integrin, and of urokinase receptor (uPAR), both included within the same network of the identified proteins. Interestingly, the actin-rich structures localized at the cell periphery of DU145R80 cells are rich of Filamin A, one of the identified proteins and uPAR which, in turn, co-localizes with αv-integrin, in podosomes and/or invadopodia. Notably, the invasive feature of DU145R80 may be prevented by blocking anti-αv antibody. Overall, we unveil a signaling network that physically links the interior of the nucleus via the cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix and that could dictate PCa aggressiveness suggesting novel potential prognostic markers and therapeutic targets for PCa patients.

Kacsinta AD, Rubenstein CS, Sroka IC, et al.
Intracellular modifiers of integrin alpha 6p production in aggressive prostate and breast cancer cell lines.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 454(2):335-40 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer metastasis is a multi-step process in which tumor cells gain the ability to invade beyond the primary tumor and colonize distant sites. The mechanisms regulating the metastatic process confer changes to cell adhesion receptors including the integrin family of receptors. Our group previously discovered that the α6 integrin (ITGA6/CD49f) is post translationally modified by urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor, urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), to form the variant ITGA6p. This variant of ITGA6 is a cleaved form of the receptor that lacks the ligand-binding domain. Although it is established that the uPA/uPAR axis drives ITGA6 cleavage, the mechanisms regulating cleavage have not been defined. Intracellular integrin dependent "inside-out" signaling is a major regulator of integrin function and the uPA/uPAR axis. We hypothesized that intracellular signaling molecules play a role in formation of ITGA6p to promote cell migration during cancer metastasis. In order to test our hypothesis, DU145 and PC3B1 prostate cancer and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines were treated with small interfering RNA targeting actin and the intracellular signaling regulators focal adhesion kinase (FAK), integrin linked kinase (ILK), and paxillin. The results demonstrated that inhibition of actin, FAK, and ILK expression resulted in significantly increased uPAR expression and ITGA6p production. Inhibition of actin increased ITGA6p, although inhibition of paxillin did not affect ITGA6p formation. Taken together, these results suggest that FAK and ILK dependent "inside-out" signaling, and actin dynamics regulate extracellular production of ITGA6p and the aggressive phenotype.

Kriegbaum MC, Clausen OP, Lærum OD, Ploug M
Expression of the Ly6/uPAR-domain proteins C4.4A and Haldisin in non-invasive and invasive skin lesions.
J Histochem Cytochem. 2015; 63(2):142-54 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
C4.4A and Haldisin belong to the Ly6/uPAR/α-neurotoxin protein domain family. They exhibit highly regulated expression profiles in normal epidermis, where they are confined to early (C4.4A) and late (Haldisin) squamous differentiation. We have now explored if dysregulated expressions occur in non-invasive and invasive skin lesions. In non-invasive lesions, their expression signatures were largely maintained as defined by that of normal epidermis. The scenario was, however, markedly different in the progression towards invasive squamous cell carcinomas. In its non-invasive stage (carcinoma in situ), a pronounced attenuation of C4.4A expression was observed, but upon transition to malignant invasive squamous cell carcinomas, the invasive fronts regained high expression of C4.4A. A similar progression was observed for the early stages of benign infiltrating keratoacanthomas. Interestingly, this transition was accompanied by a shift in the predominant association of C4.4A expression with CK1/10 in the normal epidermis to CK5/14 in the invasive lesions. In contrast, Haldisin expression maintained its confinement to the most-differentiated cells and was hardly expressed in the invasive lesions. Because this altered expression of C4.4A was seen in the invasive front of benign (keratoacanthomas) and malignant (squamous cell carcinomas) neoplasms, we propose that this transition of expression is primarily related to the invasive process.

Su M, Chang W, Cui M, et al.
Expression and anticancer activity analysis of recombinant human uPA1‑43-melittin.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 46(2):619-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
The present study is focused on expression of a target fusion protein which can be used in ovarian cancer target therapy. It aimed to construct human urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA)(1-43)-melittin eukaryotic expression vector to express recombinant human uPA(1-43)-melittin (rhuPA(1-43)-melittin) in P. pastoris and to detect its anticancer effects on ovarian cancer cells. The DNA sequences that encode uPA1-43 amino acids and melittin were synthesized according to its native amino acid sequences and consequently inserted into pPICZαC vector. Then uPA1-43-melittin -pPICZαC was transformed into P. pastoris X-33, and rhuPA(1-43)-melittin was expressed by methonal inducing. The bioactivities of recombinant fusion protein were detected with inhibition effects on growth of ovarian cancer cells, cell cycle detection and TUNEL assay. The results of DNA sequence analysis of the recombinant vector uPA(1-43)-melittin -pPICZαC demonstrated that the DNA encoding human uPA 1-43 amino acids and 1-26 amino acids of melittin was correctly inserted into the pPICZαC vector. After being induced by methonal, fusion protein with molecular weight 7.6 kDa was observed on the basis of SDS-PAGE and western blot analysis. The recombinant protein was able to suppress growth of SKOV3, induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of SKOV3 cells. The fusion protein does not have any obvious toxicity on normal tissues. RhuPA(1-43)-melittin was successfully expressed in P. pastoris. Taking uPA(1-43) amino acids specifically binding to uPAR as targeted part of fusion protein, and making use of antitumor activity of melittin, the recombinant fusion protein it was able to inhibit growth of ovarian tumors and to be applied for effective targeted treatment.

Elumalai P, Brindha Mercy A, Arunkamar R, et al.
Nimbolide inhibits invasion and migration, and down-regulates uPAR chemokine gene expression, in two breast cancer cell lines.
Cell Prolif. 2014; 47(6):540-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in women, worldwide. Urokinase type plasminogen activator (uPA) is a serine protease that is involved in cancer progression, especially invasion and metastasis of breast cancer. Nimbolide is a potent cytotoxic limnoid isolated from Azadirachta indica. Our previous studies have shown that nimbolide elicits pleiotropic effects on breast cancer cells; however, its roles in invasion and migration have not previously been fully elucidated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Protein expression of pEGFR, VEGFR, NFκB, IKKα, IKKβ, MMP-2, MMP-9 and TIMP-2 were analysed by western blotting. We also analysed expressions of uPA, uPAR genes and chemokines by real-time PCR. Breast cancer cell invasion was assessed by transwell invasion assay and cell migration analysed by scratch wound healing assay.
RESULTS: Our results showed that reduced protein expression of pEGFR, VEGFR, NFκB, IKKα, β, MMP-2, MMP-9 and TIMP-2 was higher in nimbolide-treated breast cancer cells. mRNA expression of uPA, uPAR, chemokines and their receptors were also significantly reduced in response to nimbolide treatment. Nimbolide inhibited breast cancer cell migration and invasion as shown in transwell invasion and wound healing assays.
CONCLUSION: These results clearly proved inhibitory effects of nimbolide on tumour cell invasion and migration by down-regulating proteins critically involved in regulation of cell invasion and metastasis, suggesting a possible therapeutic role of nimbolide for breast cancer.

Kwak TK, Sohn EJ, Kim S, et al.
Inhibitory effect of ethanol extract of Ocimum sanctum on osteopontin mediated metastasis of NCI-H460 non-small cell lung cancer cells.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014; 14:419 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Osteopontin (OPN) is one of important molecular targets in cancer progression, metastasis as a calcium-binding, extracellular-matrix-associated protein of the small integrin-binding ligand and, N-linked glycoprotein. In the present study, anti-metastatic mechanism of ethanol extracts of Ocimum sanctum (EEOS) was elucidated on OPN enhanced metastasis in NCI-H460 non- small cell lung cancer cells.
METHODS: Cell viability was measured by MTT assay. Adhesion and invasion assays were carried out to see that EEOS inhibited cell adhesion and invasion in OPN treated and non-treated NCI-H 460 cells. RT-PCR was used to determine the mRNA levels of uPA, uPAR, and EGFR.
RESULTS: EEOS significantly inhibited cell adhesion and invasion in OPN treated and non treated NCI-H460 cells, though EEOS did not show any toxicity up to 200 μg/ml. EEOS effectively attenuated the expression of OPN and CD44 and also OPN activated the expression of CD44 in NCI-H460 cells. In addition, EEOS effectively suppressed the expression of phosphatidylinositide 3-kinases (PI3K) and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) and the phosphorylation of Akt at protein level in OPN treated NCI-H460 cells. Also, EEOS significantly attenuated the expression of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), its receptor (uPAR) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) at mRNA level and reduced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production and MMP-9 activity in OPN treated NCI-H460 cells. Furthermore, PI3K/Akt inhibitor LY294002 enhanced anti-metastatic potential of EEOS to attenuate the expression of uPA and MMP-9 in OPN treated NCI-H 460 cells.
CONCLUSION: Overall, our findings suggest that anti-metastatic mechanism of EEOS is mediated by inhibition of PI3K/Akt in OPN treated NCI-H460 non-small cell lung cancer cells.

Jee BA, Lim H, Kwon SM, et al.
Molecular classification of basal cell carcinoma of skin by gene expression profiling.
Mol Carcinog. 2015; 54(12):1605-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are more common kinds of skin cancer. Although these tumors share common pathological and clinical features, their similarity and heterogeneity at molecular levels are not fully elaborated yet. Here, by performing comparative analysis of gene expression profiling of BCC, SCC, and normal skin tissues, we could classify the BCC into three subtypes of classical, SCC-like, and normal-like BCCs. Functional enrichment and pathway analyses revealed the molecular characteristics of each subtype. The classical BCC showed the enriched expression and transcription signature with the activation of Wnt and Hedgehog signaling pathways, which were well known key features of BCC. By contrast, the SCC-like BCC was enriched with immune-response genes and oxidative stress-related genes. Network analysis revealed the PLAU/PLAUR as a key regulator of SCC-like BCC. The normal-like BCC showed prominent activation of metabolic processes particularly the fatty acid metabolism. The existence of these molecular subtypes could be validated in an independent dataset, which demonstrated the three subgroups of BCC with distinct functional enrichment. In conclusion, we suggest a novel molecular classification of BCC providing insights on the heterogeneous progression of BCC.

Hu J, Jo M, Eastman BM, et al.
uPAR induces expression of transforming growth factor β and interleukin-4 in cancer cells to promote tumor-permissive conditioning of macrophages.
Am J Pathol. 2014; 184(12):3384-93 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer cells condition macrophages and other inflammatory cells in the tumor microenvironment so that these cells are more permissive for cancer growth and metastasis. Conditioning of inflammatory cells reflects, at least in part, soluble mediators (such as transforming growth factor β and IL-4) that are released by cancer cells and alter the phenotype of cells of the innate immune system. Signaling pathways in cancer cells that potentiate this activity are incompletely understood. The urokinase receptor (uPAR) is a cell-signaling receptor known to promote cancer cell survival, proliferation, metastasis, and cancer stem cell-like properties. The present findings show that uPAR expression in diverse cancer cells, including breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and glioblastoma cells, promotes the ability of these cells to condition co-cultured bone marrow-derived macrophages so that the macrophages express significantly increased levels of arginase 1, a biomarker of the alternatively activated M2 macrophage phenotype. Expression of transforming growth factor β was substantially increased in uPAR-expressing cancer cells via a mechanism that requires uPA-initiated cell signaling. uPAR also controlled expression of IL-4 in cancer cells via a mechanism that involves activation of ERK1/2. The ability of uPAR to induce expression of factors that condition macrophages in the tumor microenvironment may constitute an important mechanism by which uPAR promotes cancer progression.

Paland N, Gamliel-Lazarovich A, Coleman R, Fuhrman B
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) stimulates triglyceride synthesis in Huh7 hepatoma cells via p38-dependent upregulation of DGAT2.
Atherosclerosis. 2014; 237(1):200-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The liver is the central organ of fatty acid and triglyceride metabolism. Oxidation and synthesis of fatty acids and triglycerides is under the control of peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) α. Impairment of these receptors' function contributes to the accumulation of triglycerides in the liver resulting in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) was shown to regulate gene expression in the liver involving PPARγ transcriptional activity. In this study we questioned whether uPA modulates triglyceride metabolism in the liver, and investigated the mechanisms involved in the observed processes.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Huh7 hepatoma cells were incubated with increasing concentrations of uPA for 24 h uPA dose-dependently increased the cellular triglyceride mass, and this effect resulted from increased de novo triglyceride synthesis mediated by the enzyme diglyceride acyltransferase 2 (DGAT2). Also, the amount of free fatty acids was highly up regulated by uPA through activation of the transcription factor SREBP-1. Chemical activation of PPARα further increased uPA-stimulated triglyceride synthesis, whereas inhibition of p38, an upstream activator of PPARα, completely abolished the stimulatory effect of uPA on both triglyceride synthesis and DGAT2 upregulation. The effect of uPA on triglyceride synthesis in Huh7 cells was mediated via binding to its receptor, the uPAR. In vivo studies in uPAR(-/-) mice demonstrated that no lipid droplets were observed in their livers compared to C57BL/6 mice and the triglyceride levels were significantly lower.
CONCLUSION: This study presents a new biological function of the uPA/uPAR system in the metabolism of triglycerides and might present a new target for an early therapeutic intervention for NAFLD.

Liao CG, Kong LM, Zhou P, et al.
miR-10b is overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma and promotes cell proliferation, migration and invasion through RhoC, uPAR and MMPs.
J Transl Med. 2014; 12:234 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Recently, miR-10b is identified as a miRNA highly expressed in many human cancers, promoting cell migration and invasion. However, the specific function of miR-10b in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is unclear at this point.
METHODS: The miR-10b expression levels in 60 paired different TNM Stage HCC tumor tissues compared with adjacent non-tumor (ANT) tissues, normal tissue control (8 benign tumor and 7 normal liver tissues), 3 normal liver and 7 HCC cell lines were measured by real-time quantitative RT-PCR and to evaluate their association with HCC clinicopathologic features. Invasion assay, MTT proliferation assay and wound-healing assay were performed to test the invasion and proliferation of HCC cell after transfection. The effect of miR-10b on HCC in vivo was validated by murine xenograft model.
RESULTS: We found that miR-10b expression was increased in human HCC tissues and cell lines compared with normal control, respectively. The expression of miR-10b was correlated with HCC metastatic ability. Overexpression of miR-10b in MHCC-97L cells increased cell motility and invasiveness, whereas inhibition of miR-10b in MHCC-97H cells reduced cell motility and invasiveness in vitro and in vivo. We also showed that HOXD10 was negatively regulated by miR-10b at the posttranscriptional level, via a specific target site within the 3'UTR by luciferase reporter assay. Furthermore, we found that miR-10b induced HCC cell invasion and migration by modulating the HOXD10 target gene RhoC, uPAR, MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggested that miR-10b was overexpressed in HCC and promoted HCC cell migration and invasion through the HOXD10/ RhoC/ uPAR/ MMPs pathway which may provide a novel bio-target for HCC therapy.

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