Soluble uPAR is released selectively by glioblastoma cells that express EGF receptor variant III and promotes tumor cell migration and invasion [Molecular Bases of Disease]

April 2nd, 2015 by Gilder, A. S., Jones, K. A., Hu, J., Wang, L., Chen, C. C., Carter, B. S., Gonias, S. L.

Genomic heterogeneity is characteristic of glioblastoma (GBM). In many GBMs, the EGF receptor gene (EGFR) is amplified and may be truncated to generate a constitutively active form of the receptor called EGFRvIII. EGFR gene amplification and EGFRvIII are associated with GBM progression, even when only a small fraction of the tumor cells express EGFRvIII. In this study, we show that EGFRvIII-positive GBM cells express significantly increased levels of cellular urokinase receptor (uPAR) and release increased amounts of soluble uPAR (suPAR). When mice were xenografted with human EGFRvIII-expressing GBM cells, tumor-derived suPAR was detected in the plasma and the level was significantly increased compared with that detected in plasma samples from control mice xenografted with EGFRvIII-negative GBM cells. SuPAR also was increased in plasma from patients with EGFRvIII-positive GBMs. Purified suPAR was biologically active when added to cultures of EGFRvIII-negative GBM cells, activating cell-signaling and promoting cell migration and invasion. SuPAR did not significantly stimulate cell-signaling or migration of EGFRvIII-positive cells, probably because cell-signaling was already substantially activated in these cells. The activities of suPAR were replicated by conditioned medium (CM) from EGFRvIII-positive GBM cells. When the CM was pre-incubated with uPAR-neutralizing antibody or when uPAR gene expression was silenced in cells used to prepare CM, the activity of the CM was significantly attenuated. These results suggest that suPAR may function as an important paracrine signaling factor in EGFRvIII-positive GBMs, inducing an aggressive phenotype in tumor cells that are EGFRvIII-negative.
  • Posted in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Publications
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