Induction in human osteoblastic cells (SaOS2) of the early response genes fos, jun, and myc by the amino terminal fragment (ATF) of urokinase

Shafaat A. Rabbani*, Julienne Gladu, Andrew P. Mazar, Jack Henkin, David Goltzman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Previous studies have demonstrated that overexpression of urinary plasminogen activator (uPA) in rat prostate cancer cells results in increased skeletal metastases, which are primarily of the osteoblastic variety. The osseous activation induced by the metastases appears to be mediated through the amino terminal fragment (ATF) of uPA, which lacks the catalytic domain and can act as a growth factor for osteoblasts. To explore further the mechanism of action of uPA in bone cells, we evaluated the effects of ATF on modulating the expression of various protooncogenes. Human-osteoblast-derived osteosarcoma cells, SaOS2, were treated with graded doses of ATF for 10-120 min, and effects on early response protooncogenes were monitored. ATF increased c-myc, c-jun, and c-fos gene expression in a time-dependent manner for up to 60 min, after which mRNA levels fell. The maximum induction was seen in c-fos gene expression, which was found to be dose dependent. This effect of ATF was localized to its growth-factorlike domain. Examination of the half life of these transcripts in the presence of the transcriptional inhibitor actinomycin D demonstrated that ATF does not alter the stability of c-fos mRNA in these bone cells. Nuclear run-off assays indicated that ATF effects were due to stimulation of c-fos gene transcription. An increase in c-fos protein levels was correlated with the augmentation of its mRNA in ATF-treated SaOS2 cells. Pretreatment of SaOS2 cells with the protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor herbimycin and recombinant soluble uPA receptor (uPAR) caused a significant reduction in the ability of ATF to induce c-fos expression. These results demonstrate a novel role for uPA in activating early response proto-oncogenes, in particular c-fos, which plays an important role in bone cell growth and differentiation and may be a key factor in the signal transduction pathway of ATF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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