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Fuchs, T.; Allgayer, H. (2003): Transcriptional regulation of the urokinase receptor (u-PAR) - A central molecule of invasion and metastasis. In: Biological Chemistry, Vol. 384, No. 5: pp. 755-761


The phenomenon of tumor-associated proteolysis has been acknowledged as a decisive step in the progression of cancer. This short review focuses on the urokinase receptor (u-PAR), a central molecule involved in tumor-associated invasion and metastasis, and summarizes the transcriptional regulation of u-PAR. The urokinase receptor (u-PAR) is a heavily glycosylated cell surface protein and binds the serine protease urokinase specifically and with high affinity. It consists of three similar cysteine-rich repeats and is anchored to the cell membrane via a GPI-anchor. The u-PAR gene comprises 7 exons and is located on chromosome 19q13. Transcriptional activation of the u-PAR promoter region can be induced by binding of transcription factors (Sp1, AP-1, AP-2, NF-kappaB). One current study gives an example for transcriptional downregulation of u-PAR through a PEA3/ets transcriptional silencing element. Knowledge of the molecular regulation of this molecule in tumor cells could be very important for diagnosis and therapy in the near future.