A suppressor of multiple extracellular matrix-degrading proteases and cancer metastasis.
ABSTRACT: Cancer metastasis remains the most poorly understood process in cancer biology. It involves the degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins by a series of 'tumour-associated' proteases. Here we report the identification of a novel protease suppressor, NYD-SP8, which is located on human chromosome 19q13.2. NYD-SP8 encodes a 27 kD GPI-anchored cell surface protein, which shows structural homology to urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR). Co-immunoprecipitation experiments showed that NYD-SP8 binds to uPA/uPAR complexes and interfere with active uPA production. Overexpression of NYD-SP8 results in reducing activities of the three major classes of proteases known to be involved in ECM degradation, including uPA, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and cathepsin B, leading to suppression of both in vitro and in vivo cancer cell invasion and metastasis. These data demonstrate an important role of NYD-SP8 in regulating ECM degradation, providing a novel mechanism that modulates urokinase signalling in the suppression of cancer progression.
Project description:The urokinase system is involved in a variety of physiological processes, such as fibrinolysis, matrix remodeling, wound healing, and regeneration. Upon binding to its cognate receptor urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) catalyzes the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin and the activation of matrix metalloproteases. Apart from this, uPA-uPAR interaction can lead to the activation of transcription factors, mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways and RTK cascades. Elevated expression of uPA and uPAR is markedly associated with cancer progression and metastasis and correlates with a poor prognosis in clinics. Targeting the urokinase system has proved to be effective in experimental models in vitro and in vivo, however, in clinics the inhibition of the uPA/uPAR system has fallen short of expectations, suggesting that the question of the functional relevance of uPA/uPAR system is far from being moot. Recently, using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, we have shown that uPAR knockout decreases the proliferation of neuroblastoma Neuro2a cells in vitro. In the present study we demonstrate that uPAR expression is essential for maintaining the epithelial phenotype in Neuro2a cells and that uPAR silencing promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and increased cell migration. Accordingly, uPAR knockout results in the downregulation of epithelial markers (E-cadherin, occludin, and claudin-5) and in the increase of mesenchymal markers (N-cadherin, ?-smooth muscle actin, and interleukin-6). In search of the molecular mechanism underlying these changes, we identified uPA as a key component. Two key insights emerged as a result of this work: in the absence of uPAR, uPA is translocated into the nucleus where it is presumably involved in the activation of transcription factors (nuclear factor ?B and Snail) resulting in EMT. In uPAR-expressing cells, uPAR functions as a uPA "trap" that binds uPA on the cell surface and promotes controlled uPA internalization and degradation in lysosomes.
Project description:The urokinase receptor (uPAR) serves as a docking site to the serine protease urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) to promote extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation and tumor invasion and metastasis. Previously, we had reported a small molecule inhibitor of the uPAR·uPA interaction that emerged from structure-based virtual screening. Here, we measure the affinity of a large number of derivatives from commercial sources. Synthesis of additional compounds was carried out to probe the role of various groups on the parent compound. Extensive structure-based computational studies suggested a binding mode for these compounds that led to a structure-activity relationship study. Cellular studies in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines that include A549, H460 and H1299 showed that compounds blocked invasion, migration and adhesion. The effects on invasion of active compounds were consistent with their inhibition of uPA and MMP proteolytic activity. These compounds showed weak cytotoxicity consistent with the confined role of uPAR to metastasis.
Project description:Plasminogen activation catalyzed by urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) plays an important role in normal and pathological tissue remodeling processes. Since its discovery in the mid-1980s, the cell membrane-anchored urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) has been believed to be central to the functions of uPA, as uPA-catalyzed plasminogen activation activity appeared to be confined to cell surfaces through the binding of uPA to uPAR. However, a functional uPAR has so far only been identified in mammals. We have now cloned, recombinantly produced, and characterized two zebrafish proteases, zfuPA-a and zfuPA-b, which by several criteria are the fish orthologs of mammalian uPA. Thus, both proteases catalyze the activation of fish plasminogen efficiently and both proteases are inhibited rapidly by plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). But zfuPA-a differs from mammalian uPA by lacking the exon encoding the uPAR-binding epidermal growth factor-like domain; zfuPA-b differs from mammalian uPA by lacking two cysteines of the epidermal growth factor-like domain and a uPAR-binding sequence comparable with that found in mammalian uPA. Accordingly, no zfuPA-b binding activity could be found in fish white blood cells or fish cell lines. We therefore propose that the current consensus of uPA-catalyzed plasminogen activation taking place on cell surfaces, derived from observations with mammals, is too narrow. Fish uPAs appear incapable of receptor binding in the manner known from mammals and uPA-catalyzed plasminogen activation in fish may occur mainly in solution. Studies with nonmammalian vertebrate species are needed to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism of plasminogen activation.
Project description:Serine proteases and G-protein-coupled receptors have been studied extensively as effectors of cell death. However, their roles in myocardial infarction have not been determined. In this study, we investigated the influence of the plasminogen activator system involving urokinase and urokinase receptor on necrosis after acute myocardial infarction. Myocardial infarction and reperfusion were induced in mouse hearts using the in vitro Langendorff model. DNA fragmentation and cleaved caspase-3 activity in urokinase- (uPA-/-) and urokinase receptor-knockout mice (uPAR-/-) were determined and compared with those in wild-type mice using in situ nick-end DNA labeling (TUNEL) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, respectively. Infarct sizes were determined using propidium iodide and fluorescent microspheres. Following regional ischemia and reperfusion, a significant increase in the number of TUNEL-positive nuclei was observed in the ischemic zone in mouse hearts and to a lesser degree in regions remote from the ischemic area in wild-type, uPAR-/-, and uPA-/- groups compared with those in directly removed hearts. No significant differences were observed between uPAR-/- and wild-type mice. Conversely, a significant reduction in DNA fragmentation was observed in ischemic and nonischemic regions after acute myocardial infarction in uPA-/- mice when compared with that in wild-type and uPAR-/- groups. The resulting infarct sizes were significantly smaller in uPA-/- mice than in uPAR-/- and wild-type mice. These data demonstrated the involvement of uPA, but not uPAR, in protecting against necrosis during acute myocardial infarction.
Project description:Myofibroblasts (Mfs) that persist in a healing wound promote extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation and excessive tissue contraction. Increased levels of integrin ?v?5 promote the Mf phenotype and other fibrotic markers. Previously we reported that maintaining uPA (urokinase plasminogen activator) bound to its cell-surface receptor, uPAR prevented TGF?-induced Mf differentiation. We now demonstrate that uPA/uPAR controls integrin ?5 protein levels and in turn, the Mf phenotype. When cell-surface uPA was increased, integrin ?5 levels were reduced (61%). In contrast, when uPA/uPAR was silenced, integrin ?5 total and cell-surface levels were increased (2-4 fold). Integrin ?5 accumulation resulted from a significant decrease in ?5 ubiquitination leading to a decrease in the degradation rate of internalized ?5. uPA-silencing also induced ?-SMA stress fiber organization in cells that were seeded on collagen, increased cell area (1.7 fold), and increased integrin ?1 binding to the collagen matrix, with reduced activation of ?1. Elevated cell-surface integrin ?5 was necessary for these changes after uPA-silencing since blocking ?v?5 function reversed these effects. Our data support a novel mechanism by which downregulation of uPA/uPAR results in increased integrin ?v?5 cell-surface protein levels that regulate the activity of ?1 integrins, promoting characteristics of the persistent Mf.
Project description:The extracellular matrix (ECM) supports vascular integrity during embryonic development. Proteolytic degradation of ECM components is required for angiogenesis, but excessive ECM proteolysis causes blood vessel fragility and hemorrhage. Little is understood about how ECM proteolysis is transcriptionally regulated during embryonic vascular development. We now show that the NuRD ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling complex promotes vascular integrity by preventing excessive ECM proteolysis in vivo. Mice lacking endothelial CHD4--a catalytic subunit of NuRD complexes--died at midgestation from vascular rupture. ECM components surrounding rupture-prone vessels in Chd4 mutants were significantly downregulated prior to embryonic lethality. Using qPCR arrays, we found two critical mediators of ECM stability misregulated in mutant endothelial cells: the urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR or Plaur) was upregulated, and thrombospondin-1 (Thbs1) was downregulated. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that CHD4-containing NuRD complexes directly bound the promoters of these genes in endothelial cells. uPAR and THBS1 respectively promote and inhibit activation of the potent ECM protease plasmin, and we detected increased plasmin activity around rupture-prone vessels in Chd4 mutants. We rescued ECM components and vascular rupture in Chd4 mutants by genetically reducing urokinase (uPA or Plau), which cooperates with uPAR to activate plasmin. Our findings provide a novel mechanism by which a chromatin-remodeling enzyme regulates ECM stability to maintain vascular integrity during embryonic development.
Project description:Recent studies indicate that binding of the 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 about the exact mode of uPAR/uPA interactions or the presumed conformational changes that accompany 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 A. We report the 1.9 A crystal structure of 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.
Project description:Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are associated with fragmentation of extracellular matrix during development of aortic dilation and rupture. Therefore, it is important to identify specific protease systems involved in extracellular matrix degradation during AAA formation. The present study determined the contribution of the urokinase system to AAA formation and rupture.Angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced AAAs were associated with increased aortic abundance of both urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) proteins. However, this increased presence was unrelated to AAA formation because deficiencies of either uPAR or uPA had no effect on either the incidence or size of Ang II-induced AAAs in both normolipidemic mice and low-density lipoprotein receptor-/- mice fed a saturated fat-enriched diet. Although uPA deficiency did not affect development of AAAs, there was an effect of increasing mortality rate from AAA rupture in hypercholesterolemic mice. Bone marrow transplantation demonstrated that enhanced aneurysmal rupture was attributable to deficiency of uPA in leukocytes. uPA deficiency led to an increased propensity for impaired resolution of the thrombotic material within the aneurysmal tissue. Neither uPAR nor uPA deficiency had any effect on Ang II-induced atherosclerosis in low-density lipoprotein receptor-/- mice.The uPA-uPAR axis has no effect on the formation of Ang II-induced AAAs, but uPA deficiency promotes aneurysmal rupture.
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: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.