Numerous studies have linked the production of increased levels of urokinase type plasminogen activator (uPA) with the malignant phenotype. It has also been shown that a specific cell surface receptor can bind uPA through a domain distinct and distant from the proteolytic domain. In an in vivo model of invasion, consisting of experimentally modified chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) of a chick embryo, only cells that concurrently expressed both uPA and a receptor for uPA, and in which the receptor was saturated with uPA, were efficient in invasion. To test whether uPA produced by one cell can, in a paracrine fashion, affect the invasive capacity of a receptor-expressing cell, we transfected LB6 mouse cells with human uPA (LB6[uPA]), or human uPA-receptor cDNA (LB6[uPAR]). LB6(uPA) cells released into the medium 1-2 Ploug units of human uPA per 10(6) cells in 24 h. The LB6(uPAR) cells expressed on their surface approximately 12,000 high affinity (Kd 1.7 x 10(-10) M uPA binding sites per cell. Unlabeled LB6(uPA) and 125-IUdR-labeled LB6(uPAR) cells were coinoculated onto experimentally wounded and resealed CAMs and their invasion was compared to that of homologous mixtures of labeled and unlabeled LB6(uPAR) or LB6(uPA) cells. Concurrent presence of both cell types in the CAMs resulted in a 1.8-fold increase of invasion of the uPA-receptor expressing cells. A four-fold stimulation of invasion was observed when cells were cocultured in vitro, prior to in vivo inoculation. Enhancement of invasion was prevented in both sets of experiments by treatment with specific antihuman uPA antibodies, indicating that uPA was the main mediator of the invasion-enhancing, paracrine effect on the receptor-expressing cells.

This content is only available as a PDF.