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Eur J Biochem. 1998 Apr 15;253(2):421-9.

Downstream targets of urokinase-type plasminogen-activator-mediated signal transduction.

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Research Laboratories of Schering AG, Berlin, Germany.


We have investigated cellular signalling events induced by urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) independent of its proteolytic activity. Treatment of the human fibrosarcoma cell line HT 1080 with diisopropylphosphorofluoridate-inactivated uPA (Dip-F-uPA) triggers a cascade of intracellular signals which are mediated by the specific cell surface receptor for uPA (uPAR). We have found that anti-uPAR Ig precipitate the src-type protein tyrosine kinases fyn, hck and lck, which belong to a family of structurally and functionally related effectors participating in signalling from antigen and cytokine receptors. Of the three uPAR-associated kinases, only hck is activated by uPA, whereas no changes in the activities of either fyn or lck could be detected by an in vitro immune complex kinase assay. We identified p38 and extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 2 from the mitogen-activated protein kinase family as downstream components of a set of consecutive signalling molecules which teleologically alter the program of gene expression. Exposure of cells to uPA results in a significant increase in c-fos mRNA that is partially due to an elevated rate of gene transcription. Presumably, the activation of the c-fos gene leads to the subsequent formation of the transcription factor activator protein-1 (AP-1), since accumulation of c-fos mRNA is followed by induction of target genes sensitive to AP-1 such as plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2 (PAI-2). These results provide new insights into proteolysis-independent cytokine-like effects of uPA.

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