Urokinase plasminogen activator receptor induced non-small cell lung cancer invasion and metastasis requires NHE1 transporter expression and transport activity
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- Provost, J.J., Rastedt, D., Canine, J. et al. Cell Oncol. (2012) 35: 95. doi:10.1007/s13402-011-0068-y
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Non-small cell lung cancers (NSLC) are aggressive cancers that are insensitive to chemotherapies and accounts for nearly 33% of all cancer deaths in the United States. Two hallmarks of cancer that allow cells to invade and metastasize are sustained proliferation and enhanced motility. In this study we investigate the relationship between urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA)/uPA receptor (uPAR) signaling and Na+/H+ exchanger isoform 1 (NHE1) expression and activity.
Methods and results
The addition of 10nM uPA increased the carcinogenic potential of three NSCLC cell lines, NCI-H358, NCI-H460, and NCI-H1299. This included an increase in the rate of cell proliferation 1.6 to 1.9 fold; an increase in the percentage of cells displaying stress fibers 3.05 to 3.17 fold; and an increase in anchorage-independent growth from 1.64 to 2.0 fold. In each of these cases the increase was blocked when the experiments were performed with NHE1 inhibited by 10 μM EIPA (ethylisopropyl amiloride). To further evaluate the role of uPA/uPAR and NHE1 in tumor progression we assessed signaling events using full-length uPA compared to the uPA amino terminal fragment (ATF). Comparing uPA and ATF signaling in H460 cells, we found that both uPA and ATF increased stress fiber formation approximately 2 fold, while uPA increased matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) activity 5.44 fold compared to 2.81 fold for ATF. To expand this signaling study, two new cell lines were generated, one with reduced NHE1 expression (H460 NHE1 K/D) and one with reduced uPAR expression (H460 uPAR K/D). Using the K/D cell lines we found that neither uPA nor ATF could stimulate stress fiber formation or MMP9 activity in cells with dramatically decreased NHE1 or uPAR expression. Finally, using in vivo tumor formation studies in athymic mice we found that when mice were injected with H460 cells 80% of mice formed tumors with an average volume of 390 mm3. This was compared to 20% of H460 uPAR K/D injected mice forming tumors with an average volume of 15 mm3 and 10% of H460 NHE1 K/D injected mice forming tumors with an average volume of 5 mm3.
Taken together, these data demonstrate that uPA/uPAR-mediated tumor progression and metastasis requires NHE1 in NSCLC cells and suggests a potential therapeutic approach to blocking cancer progression.