uPA and uPAR contribute to NK cell invasion through the extracellular matrix

G. Al-Atrash, R. P. Kitson, Y. Xue, A. P. Mazar, M. H. Kim, R. H. Goldfarb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: The urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) system has been implicated in cellular invasiveness of tumor cells and immune cells. Herein we provide evidence for the production by natural killer (NK) cells of both uPA and its receptor (uPAR). Materials and Methods: Western blot analysis, RTPCR, casein/plasminogen zymography, and fluorescence microscopy were employed to detect uPA and uPAR on NK cells. NK cell invasiveness was examined using Matrigel invasion assays. Results: NK cell uPA appeared at its characteristic molecular weights, is enzymatically active in casein/plasminogen zymography, and is recognized by monoclonal antibodies. uPAR was detected by RTPCR and fluorescence microscopy. Matrigel invasion assays demonstrated an active role of uPA in NK cell invasion. Conclusion: The uPA system contributes to extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation by NK cells, which may be essential for NK cell accumulation into metastases, and may be prerequisite for their killing of tumor cells following NK cell adoptive transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1697-1704
Number of pages8
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number3 B
StatePublished - Aug 20 2001


  • Basement membrane
  • Natural killer cells
  • Plasminogen activator
  • Tumor infiltration
  • Urokinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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