Smad4-dependent regulation of urokinase plasminogen activator secretion and RNA stability associated with invasiveness by autocrine and paracrine transforming growth factor-β

Academic Article


  • Metastasis is a primary cause of mortality due to cancer. Early metastatic growth involves both a remodeling of the extracellular matrix surrounding tumors and invasion of tumors across the basement membrane. Up-regulation of extracellular matrix degrading proteases such as urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and matrix metalloproteinases has been reported to facilitate tumor cell invasion. Autocrine transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling may play an important role in cancer cell invasion and metastasis; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, we report that autocrine TGF-β supports cancer cell invasion by maintaining uPA levels through protein secretion. Interestingly, treatment of paracrine/exogenous TGF-β at higher concentrations than autocrine TGF-β further enhanced uPA expression and cell invasion. The enhanced uPA expression by exogenous TGF-β is a result of increased uPA mRNA expression due to RNA stabilization. We observed that both autocrine and paracrine TGF-β-mediated regulation of uPA levels was lost upon depletion of Smad4 protein by RNA interference. Thus, through the Smad pathway, autocrine TGF-β maintains uPA expression through facilitated protein secretion, thereby supporting tumor cell invasiveness, whereas exogenous TGF-β further enhances uPA expression through mRNA stabilization leading to even greater invasiveness of the cancer cells. © 2006 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Shiou SR; Datta PK; Dhawan P; Law BK; Yingling JM; Dixon DA; Beauchamp RD
  • Start Page

  • 33971
  • End Page

  • 33981
  • Volume

  • 281
  • Issue

  • 45