The invasively growing and metastasizing Lewis lung carcinoma consistently contained urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) enzyme activity. When investigated immunocytochemically with antibodies against u-PA, different parts of individual tumors showed a pronounced heterogeneity in staining intensity. Strong staining was found in areas with invasive growth and degradation of surrounding normal tissue, while other areas were completely devoid of staining. Immunoreactivity occurred both with a perinuclear cytoplasmic localization in tumor cells and associated with apparently extracellular material. SDS PAGE of tumor extracts, under both reducing and nonreducing conditions, followed by immunoblotting, showed only one immunocytochemically stainable band with an electrophoretic mobility corresponding to that of purified proenzyme to u-PA, while no two-chain u-PA was detected. This indicates that the major part of the activator in Lewis lung carcinoma is present as one-chain pro-u-PA.

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