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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Human tumor cell urokinase-type plasminogen activator ( uPA): degradation of the proenzyme form (pro- uPA) by granulocyte elastase prevents subsequent activation by plasmin.

When human granulocytes were stimulated with the chemotactic peptide FNLPNTL (N-formyl-norleucyl-leucyl-phenylalanyl-norleucyl-tyrosinyl- lysin; in the presence of cytochalasin B), proteolytic enzymes were released which prevented activation of tumor-cell derived pro- uPA by plasmin. Elastase was identified by use of eglin C (elastase inhibitor) and an inhibitory monoclonal antibody to elastase as the functional proteolytic enzyme in these granulocyte supernatants. Purified human granulocyte elastase cleaves pro- uPA at amino acid position lle159-lle160 thus generating an enzymatically inactive two-chain form of uPA, as judged by N-terminal amino acid sequence analysis. An additional minor elastase-mediated cleavage site was detected at position Thr165-Thr166. This form of uPA was indistinguishable by SDS-PAGE from plasmin-generated enzymatically active HMW- uPA. Action of plasmin on the proenzyme form of uPA (pro- uPA) generates an enzymatically active uPA-molecule (high molecular weight form; HMW- uPA) which is cleaved at amino acid position Lys158-lle159 (Mr = 33,000 (B-chain) and 22,000 (A-chain). Thus elastase cannot substitute for plasmin in the proteolytic activation of pro- uPA to enzymatically active HMW- uPA. Enzymatically active HMW- uPA, however, was not affected by elastase. Elastase-containing granulocytes were identified by immunohistochemical staining of elastase in breast cancer tissue. Granulocytes were located close to the tumor cells and also in the tumor stroma surrounding the tumor nests. These tumor cells contain pro- uPA. Evidently, the conversion of tumor cell pro- uPA into enzymatically active HMW- uPA is controlled by elastase released from granulocytes into the tumor tissue.[1]


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