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J Biol Chem. 2005 Mar 18;280(11):10564-71. Epub 2005 Jan 14.

Signaling mechanisms responsible for lysophosphatidic acid-induced urokinase plasminogen activator expression in ovarian cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) enhances urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) expression in ovarian cancer cells; however, the molecular mechanisms responsible for this event have not been investigated. In this study, we used the invasive ovarian cancer SK-OV-3 cell line to explore the signaling molecules and pathways essential for LPA-induced uPA up-regulation. With the aid of specific inhibitors and dominant negative forms of signaling molecules, we determined that the G(i)-associated pathway mediates this LPA-induced event. Moreover, constitutively active H-Ras and Raf-1-activating H-Ras mutant enhance uPA expression, whereas dominant negative H-Ras and Raf-1 block LPA-induced uPA up-regulation, suggesting that the Ras-Raf pathway works downstream of G(i) to mediate this LPA-induced process. Surprisingly, dominant negative MEK1 or Erk2 displays only marginal inhibitory effect on LPA-induced uPA up-regulation, suggesting that a signaling pathway distinct from Raf-MEK1/2-Erk is the prominent pathway responsible for this process. In this report, we demonstrate that LPA activates NF-kappaB in a Ras-Raf-dependent manner and that blocking NF-kappaB activation with either non-phosphorylable IkappaB or dominant negative IkappaB kinase abolished LPA-induced uPA up-regulation and uPA promoter activation. Furthermore, introducing mutations to knock out the NF-kappaB binding site of the uPA promoter results in over 80% reduction in LPA-induced uPA promoter activation, whereas this activity is largely intact with the promoter containing mutations in the AP1 binding sites. Thus these results suggest that the G(i)-Ras-Raf-NF-kappaB signaling cascade is responsible for LPA-induced uPA up-regulation in ovarian cancer cells.

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