Polyclonal antibodies against plasminogen activator inhibitor type-I (PAI-1) caused rapid retraction and rounding of substrate-attached HT-1080 cells. The kinetics and extent of antibody-mediated cell rounding were not dependent on either urokinase or plasmin activity. Cells adherent to vitronectin-coated substrates detached within 2 h of antibody addition. Cells adherent to fibronectin were unaffected by the antibodies. Immunoblotting of substrate-attached material indicated that HT-1080 cells deposited PAI-1 into vitronectin, but not fibronectin, dependent contacts. These data suggest that the antibody-mediated cell rounding resulted from a steric disruption of vitronectin-dependent adhesions, indicating that the binding site on vitronectin for PAI-1 is near, but does not overlap, the binding site for vitronectin receptor. The accumulation of PAI-1 into vitronectin-dependent adhesion sites correlated temporally with the preferential degradation of fibronectin from the substrate. HT-1080 cells adherent to either fibronectin or vitronectin were able to activate exogenous plasminogen to plasmin. Plasmin levels were increased 200% on cells adherent to fibronectin and 100% on cells adherent to vitronectin. In the presence of a neutralizing antibody against PAI-1, vitronectin adherent cells activated plasminogen to the same extent as fibronectin adherent cells. Plasmin levels of 200% above baseline were associated with retraction of cells from the substrate. The ability of vitronectin adherent cells to activate exogenous plasmin was completely blocked in the presence of neutralizing antibodies against urokinase. These data represent the first demonstration that vitronectin-associated PAI-1 regulates urokinase in focal contact areas.

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