Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Plasminogen-Activating System

  • Salvatore Ulisse
  • Enke Baldini
  • Sarah Bocchini
  • Massimino D’Armiento
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_4605-2


The plasminogen-activating system (PAS) consists of two immunologically distinct serine proteases, the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and the tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA); their specific inhibitors, the plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) and 2 (PAI-2) and the protease nexin-1 (PN-1), which belong to the serine protease inhibitor superfamily of serpins; and the glycolipid-anchored cell membrane receptor for the uPA. The two plasminogen activators convert, in the extracellular environment, the proenzyme plasminogen into the serine protease plasmin. The latter is involved in fibrin degradation during clot lysis and in a number of physiological and pathological processes requiring basement membrane (BM) and/or extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling, such as wound healing, mammary gland development and its postlactational involution, tissue regeneration, angiogenesis, tumor progression, and metastasization (Fig. 1). Besides fibrin, in fact, plasmin may...


Hepatocyte Growth Factor uPAR Expression Human Epidermoid Carcinoma Cell Line Serine Protease Plasmin Postlactational Involution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Blasi F, Carmeliet P (2002) uPAR: a versatile signalling orchestrator. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 3:932–943PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Choong PFM, Nadesapillai APW (2003) Urokinase plasminogen activator system: a multifunctional role in tumor progression and metastasis. Clin Orthop Relat Res 415S:S46–S58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. de Bock CE, Wang Y (2003) Clinical significance of urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) expression in cancer. Med Res Rev 24:13–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Duffy MJ (2004) The urokinase plasminogen activator system: role in malignancy. Curr Pharm Des 10:39–49PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Madsen CD, Ferraris GM, Andolfo A, Cunningham O, Sidenius N (2007) uPAR-induced cell adhesion and migration: vitronectin provides the key. J Cell Biol 177:927–939PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Noh H, Hong S, Huang S (2013) Role of urokinase receptor in tumor progression and development. Theranostics 3:487–495PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Rockway TW, Nienaber V, Giranda VL (2002) Inhibitors of protease domain of urokinase-type plasminogen activator. Curr Pharm Des 8:2541–2558PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Schuliga M, Westall G, Xia Y, Stewart AG (2013) The plasminogen activation system: new targets in lung inflammation and remodeling. Curr Opin Pharmacol 13:386–393PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Smith HW, Marshall CJ (2010) Regulation of cell signalling by uPAR. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 11:23–36PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ulisse S, Baldini E, Sorrenti S, D’Armiento M (2009) The urokinase plasminogen activator system: a target for anti-cancer therapy. Curr Cancer Drug Targets 9:32–71PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

See Also

  1. (2012) Extracellular Matrix. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of Cancer, 3rd edn. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, p 1362. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_2067Google Scholar
  2. (2012) MAPK. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of Cancer, 3rd edn. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, p 2167. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_3532Google Scholar
  3. (2012) P53. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of Cancer, 3rd edn. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, p 2747. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_4331Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salvatore Ulisse
    • 1
  • Enke Baldini
    • 1
  • Sarah Bocchini
    • 1
  • Massimino D’Armiento
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental MedicineUniversity of Rome “Sapienza”RomeItaly