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The urokinase plasminogen activator and its receptor Role in cell growth and apoptosis

Journal: Thrombosis and Haemostasis
ISSN: 0340-6245

Proteases and Extracellular Environment

Issue: 2005: 93/2 (Feb) pp. 186-397
Pages: 205-211

The urokinase plasminogen activator and its receptor Role in cell growth and apoptosis

Daniela Alfano(1) , Paola Franco(1) , Immacolata Vocca (1) , Nadia Gambi(1) , Viviana Pisa(1) , Alessandro Mancini(2) , Mario Caputi(2) , Maria Vincenza Carriero (1,3) , Ingram Iaccarino(1) , Maria Patrizia Stoppelli (1)

(1)Institute of Genetics and Biophysics “Adriano Buzzati-Traverso”, CNR, Naples, Italy (2) Department of Medical-Surgical, Cardiological, Respiratory, and Thoracic Sciences, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy (3) National Cancer Institut


The urinary-type plasminogen activator, or uPA, controls matrix degradation through the conversion of plasminogen into plasmin and is regarded as the critical trigger for plasmin generation during cell migration and invasion, under physiological and pathological conditions (such as cancer metastasis).The proteolytic activity of uPA is responsible for the activation or release of several growth factors and modulates the cell survival/apoptosis ratio through the dynamic control of cell-matrix contacts.The urokinase receptor (uPAR), binding to the EGF-like domain of uPA, directs membrane-associated extracellular proteolysis and signals through transmembrane proteins, thus regulating cell migration, adhesion and cytoskeletal status. However, recent evidence highlights an intricate relationship linking the uPA/uPAR system to cell growth and apoptosis.