Urokinase-receptor/integrin complexes are functionally involved in adhesion and progression of human breast cancer in vivo.
ABSTRACT: Interactions between specific cell-surface molecules, which include the urokinase receptor (uPAR) and integrins, are crucial to processes of tumor invasion and metastasis. Here we demonstrate that uPAR and beta1-integrins may cluster at distinct sites at the cell surface of metastatic MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and form functional complexes. Attachment assays performed in the presence of a synthetic peptide (p25), which interferes with the formation of uPAR-integrin complexes, reveal that uPAR is able to regulate the adhesive function of integrins in breast cancer cells. On dissociation of the uPAR-integrin complexes by p25, tumor cell attachment to the extracellular matrix was either decreased (vitronectin) or increased (fibronectin). Moreover, the tumor cells display remarkable morphological changes when cultured on fibronectin in the continuous presence of p25, leading to increased cell spreading and attachment. In marked contrast to control conditions, increased cellular adhesion to fibronectin after p25 treatment was entirely beta1-integrin-mediated. The role of uPAR-integrin complexes in tumor progression was studied in an in vivo bone xenograft model. Stably transfected MDA-MB-231 cells that overexpress p25 showed a significant reduction in tumor progression in bone (P < or = 0.0001 versus mock-control). In line with these observations, continuous administration of p25 (25 microg/mouse/day, osmotic minipumps) for 28 days resulted in significantly reduced tumor progression of MDA-MB-231 cells in bone (P < or = 0.005) when compared to scrambled control peptide. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that uPAR can act as an adhesion receptor in breast cancer and is capable of regulating integrin function. Our findings strongly suggest that adhesive and proteolytic events are tightly associated in metastatic breast cancer cells and that functional integrin-uPAR complexes are involved in tumor progression in vivo.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are lipid-bound particles that are naturally released from cells and mediate cell-cell communication. Integrin adhesion receptors are enriched in small EVs (SEVs) and SEV-carried integrins have been shown to promote cancer cell migration and to mediate organ-specific metastasis; however, how integrins mediate these effects is not entirely clear and could represent a combination of EV binding to extracellular matrix and cells. METHODS:To probe integrin role in EVs binding and uptake, we employed a disintegrin inhibitor (DisBa-01) of integrin binding with specificity for ?v?3 integrin. EVs were purified from MDA-MB-231 cells conditioned media by serial centrifugation method. Isolated EVs were characterized by different techniques and further employed in adhesion, uptake and co-culture experiments. RESULTS:We find that SEVs secreted from MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells carry ?v?3 integrin and bind directly to fibronectin-coated plates, which is inhibited by DisBa-01. SEV coating on tissue culture plates also induces adhesion of MDA-MB-231 cells, which is inhibited by DisBa-01 treatment. Analysis of EV uptake and interchange between cells reveals that the amount of CD63-positive EVs delivered from malignant MDA-MB-231 breast cells to non-malignant MCF10A breast epithelial cells is reduced by DisBa-01 treatment. Inhibition of ?v?3 integrin decreases CD63 expression in cancer cells suggesting an effect on SEV content. CONCLUSION:In summary, our findings demonstrate for the first time a key role of ?v?3 integrin in cell-cell communication through SEVs. Video Abstract.
Project description:Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have recently attracted attention as clinical agents for enhancing the effect of radiotherapy in various cancers. Although radiotherapy is a standard treatment for cancers, invasive recurrence and metastasis are significant clinical problems. Several studies have suggested that radiation promotes the invasion of cancer cells by activating molecular mechanisms involving integrin and fibronectin (FN). In this study, polyethylene-glycolylated AuNPs (P-AuNPs) were conjugated with Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) peptides (RGD/P-AuNPs) to target cancer cells expressing RGD-binding integrins such as ?5- and ?v-integrins. RGD/P-AuNPs were internalized more efficiently and colocalized with integrins in the late endosomes and lysosomes of MDA-MB-231 cells. A combination of RGD/P-AuNPs and radiation reduced cancer cell viability and increased DNA damage compared to radiation alone in MDA-MB-231 cells. Moreover, the invasive activity of breast cancer cell lines after radiation treatment was significantly inhibited in the presence of RGD/P-AuNPs. Microarray analyses revealed that the expression of FN in irradiated cells was suppressed by combined use of RGD/P-AuNPs. Reduction of FN and downstream signaling may be involved in suppressing radiation-induced invasive activity by RGD/P-AuNPs. Our study suggests that RGD/P-AuNPs can target integrin-overexpressing cancer cells to improve radiation therapy by suppressing invasive activity in addition to sensitization. Thus, these findings provide a possible clinical strategy for using AuNPs to treat invasive breast cancer following radiotherapy.
Project description:The urokinase receptor (uPAR) is a GPI-anchored cell surface receptor that is at the center of an intricate network of protein-protein interactions. Its immediate binding partners are the serine proteinase urokinase (uPA), and vitronectin (VTN), a component of the extracellular matrix. uPA and VTN bind at distinct sites on uPAR to promote extracellular matrix degradation and integrin signaling, respectively. Here, we report the discovery of a new class of pyrrolone small-molecule inhibitors of the tight ?1 nM uPAR·uPA protein-protein interaction. These compounds were designed to bind to the uPA pocket on uPAR. The highest affinity compound, namely 7, displaced a fluorescently labeled ?-helical peptide (AE147-FAM) with an inhibition constant Ki of 0.7 ?M and inhibited the tight uPAR·uPAATF interaction with an IC50 of 18 ?M. Biophysical studies with surface plasmon resonance showed that VTN binding is highly dependent on uPA. This cooperative binding was confirmed as 7, which binds at the uPAR·uPA interface, also inhibited the distal VTN·uPAR interaction. In cell culture, 7 blocked the uPAR·uPA interaction in uPAR-expressing human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) cells and impaired cell adhesion to VTN, a process that is mediated by integrins. As a result, 7 inhibited integrin signaling in MDA-MB-231 cancer cells as evidenced by a decrease in focal adhesion kinase (FAK) phosphorylation and Rac1 GTPase activation. Consistent with these results, 7 blocked breast MDA-MB-231 cancer cell invasion with IC50 values similar to those observed in ELISA and surface plasmon resonance competition studies. Explicit-solvent molecular dynamics simulations show that the cooperativity between uPA and VTN is attributed to stabilization of uPAR motion by uPA. In addition, free energy calculations revealed that uPA stabilizes the VTNSMB·uPAR interaction through more favorable electrostatics and entropy. Disruption of the uPAR·VTNSMB interaction by 7 is consistent with the cooperative binding to uPAR by uPA and VTN. Interestingly, the VTNSMB·uPAR interaction was less favorable in the VTNSMB·uPAR·7 complex suggesting potential cooperativity between 7 and VTN. Compound 7 provides an excellent starting point for the development of more potent derivatives to explore uPAR biology.
Project description:Signaling by urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) can cause epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in cultured breast cancer cells. In this report, we show that uPAR signaling can also induce cancer stem cell (CSC)-like properties. Ectopic overexpression of uPAR in human MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells promoted the emergence of a CD24(-)/CD44(+) phenotype, characteristic of CSCs, while increasing the cell surface abundance of integrin subunits ?1/CD29 and ?6/CD49f that represent putative mammary gland stem cell biomarkers. uPAR overexpression increased mammosphere formation in vitro and tumor formation in an immunocompromized severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mouse model of orthotopic breast cancer. Hypoxic conditions that are known to induce EMT in MDA-MB-468 cells also increased cell surface ?1/CD29, mimicking the effects of uPAR overexpression. Antagonizing uPAR effector signaling pathways reversed the increase in cell surface integrin expression. Whereas uPAR overexpression did not induce EMT in MCF-7 breast cancer cells, CSC-like properties were nevertheless still induced along with an increase in tumor initiation and growth in the orthotopic setting in SCID mice. Notably, in MCF-7 cell mammospheres, which display a well-defined acinus-like structure with polarized expression of E-cadherin and ?1-integrin, cell collapse into the central cavity was decreased by uPAR overexpression, suggesting that uPAR signaling may stabilize epithelial morphology. In summary, our findings show that uPAR signaling can induce CSC-like properties in breast cancer cells, either concomitantly with or separately from EMT.
Project description:Interactions between urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) and its various ligands regulate tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis. Antibodies that bind specific uPAR epitopes may disrupt these interactions, thereby inhibiting these processes. Using a highly diverse and naïve human fragment of the antigen binding (Fab) phage display library, we identified 12 unique human Fabs that bind uPAR. Two of these antibodies compete against urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) for uPAR binding, whereas a third competes with beta1 integrins for uPAR binding. These competitive antibodies inhibit uPAR-dependent cell signaling and invasion in the non-small cell lung cancer cell line, H1299. Additionally, the integrin-blocking antibody abrogates uPAR/beta1 integrin-mediated H1299 cell adhesion to fibronectin and vitronectin. This antibody and one of the uPAR/uPA antagonist antibodies shows a significant combined effect in inhibiting cell invasion through Matrigel/Collagen I or Collagen I matrices. Our results indicate that these antagonistic antibodies have potential for the detection and treatment of uPAR-expressing tumors.
Project description:Overexpression of the nuclear receptor 4A1 (NR4A1) in breast cancer patients is a prognostic factor for decreased survival and increased metastasis, and this has been linked to NR4A1-dependent regulation of transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?) signaling. Results of RNA interference studies demonstrate that basal migration of aggressive SKBR3 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells is TGF-? independent and dependent on regulation of ?1-integrin gene expression by NR4A1 which can be inhibited by the NR4A1 antagonists 1,1-bis(3'-indolyl)-1-(p-hydroxyphenyl)methane (DIM-C-pPhOH) and a related p-carboxymethylphenyl [1,1-bis(3'-indolyl)-1-(p-carboxymethylphenyl)methane (DIM-C-pPhCO2Me)] analog. The NR4A1 antagonists also inhibited TGF-?-induced migration of MDA-MB-231 cells by blocking nuclear export of NR4A1, which is an essential step in TGF-?-induced cell migration. We also observed that NR4A1 regulates expression of both ?1- and ?3-integrins, and unlike other ?1-integrin inhibitors which induce prometastatic ?3-integrin, NR4A1 antagonists inhibit expression of both ?1- and ?3-integrin, demonstrating a novel mechanism-based approach for targeting integrins and integrin-dependent breast cancer metastasis.
Project description:Four "one-bead one-compound" (OBOC) combinatorial libraries were designed, synthesized, and screened against MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. A novel cyclic peptide 1 (LXY1) with high binding specificity to alpha3 integrin was identified. Molecular interactions between alpha3 integrin and 1 were characterized by using a series of K562 cells transfected with various mutant alpha3 integrins. Using analytic flow cytometry, the binding affinity (K(d)) of 1 to alpha3 integrin on MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells was determined to be approximately 0.4 microM. Based on the established structure-activity relationship (SAR) study, two highly focused cyclic peptide libraries were further designed, synthesized, and screened against MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells under stringent conditions. A novel cyclic peptide 2 (LXY3) with a high binding affinity (IC(50) = 57 nM) was identified. Moreover, the targeting efficiency and specificity of 2 to the breast adenocarcinoma tumors in mouse xenografts were further confirmed by in vivo and ex vivo near-infrared fluorescence optical imaging.
Project description:The urokinase plasminogen activator and its receptor (uPA/uPAR) are biomarkers for metastasis, especially in triple-negative breast cancer. We prepared anti-mitotic N-alkylisatin (N-AI)-loaded liposomes functionalized with the uPA/uPAR targeting ligand, plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2 (PAI-2/SerpinB2), and assessed liposome uptake in vitro and in vivo. Receptor-dependent uptake of PAI-2-functionalized liposomes was significantly higher in the uPA/uPAR overexpressing MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line relative to the low uPAR/uPAR expressing MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. Furthermore, N-AI cytotoxicity was enhanced in a receptor-dependent manner. In vivo, PAI-2 N-AI liposomes had a plasma half-life of 5.82 h and showed an increased accumulation at the primary tumor site in an orthotopic MDA-MB-231 BALB/c-Fox1nu/Ausb xenograft mouse model, relative to the non-functionalized liposomes, up to 6 h post-injection. These findings support the further development of N-AI-loaded PAI-2-functionalized liposomes for uPA/uPAR-positive breast cancer, especially against triple-negative breast cancer, for which the prognosis is poor and treatment is limited.
Project description:The urokinase receptor (uPAR) is upregulated upon tumor cell invasion and correlates with poor lung cancer survival. Although a cis-interaction with integrins has been ascribed to uPAR, whether this interaction alone is critical to urokinase (uPA)- and uPAR-dependent signaling and tumor promotion is unclear. Here we report the functional consequences of point mutations of uPAR (H249A-D262A) that eliminate beta1 integrin interactions but maintain uPA binding, vitronectin attachment and association with alphaV integrins, caveolin and epidermal growth factor receptor. Disruption of uPAR interactions with beta1 integrins recapitulated previously reported findings with beta1-integrin-derived peptides that attenuated matrix-dependent ERK activation, MMP expression and in vitro migration by human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. The uPAR mutant cells acquired enhanced capacity to adhere to vitronectin via uPAR-alphaVbeta5-integrin, rather than through the uPAR-alpha3beta1-integrin complex and they were unable to initiate uPA signaling to activate ERK, Akt or Stat1. In an orthotopic lung cancer model, uPAR mutant cells exhibited reduced tumor size compared with cells expressing wild-type uPAR. Taken together, the results indicate that uPAR-beta1-integrin interactions are essential to signals induced by integrin matrix ligands or uPA that support lung cancer cell invasion in vitro and progression in vivo.
Project description:Angiogenin (ANG), a 14-kDa pro-angiogenic secreted protein, has been shown to play a role in cell migration and tumor invasion, which involve proteolytic cleavage of plasminogen to generate plasmin. However, the mechanism by which ANG regulates plasmin formation and cell migration was not known. Our studies here detected elevated levels of secreted and cell surface-bound ANG in highly invasive metastatic breast cancer cells. ANG was also detected at very high levels in the tumor cells in infiltrating ductal carcinomas. By immunofluorescence and immunoprecipitation analysis, ANG was detected at the leading edges of the cell surfaces where it colocalized and interacted with members of the plasminogen activation system (PAS) such as annexin A2 (A2), calpactin (S100-A10) and urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR). Analysis of lipid raft (LR) and non-lipid raft (NLR) regions of the cell membranes showed the predominance of ANG, A2 and S100-A10 in the LR regions. In contrast, uPAR was detected predominantly in the NLR fractions, suggesting that ANG interacts with uPAR at the junctions of LR and NLR regions. ANG knockdown in T47D and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines did not affect the cellular expression of A2, S100-A10 and uPAR but decreased cell migration and plasmin formation. Neutralization of ANG with monoclonal antibodies similarly decreased the migration of MDA-MB-231 cells. In the presence of ANG, uPAR was observed to interact with uPA, which is necessary for plasmin formation. Conversely, in the absence of ANG, uPAR did not interact with uPA and FAK and Src kinases were observed to be dephosphorylated. Exogenous addition of recombinant ANG to ANG knocked down MDA-MB-231 cells restored FAK phosphorylation, uPAR interactions with uPA, plasmin formation as well as migration of these cells. Taken together, our results identified a novel role for ANG as a member of the uPAR interactome that facilitates the interaction of uPAR with uPA, leading to plasmin formation and cell migration necessary for tumor invasion and metastasis of breast cancer cells.