Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
The urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) plays a critical role in the regulation of cell-surface plasminogen activation in several physiological and pathological conditions. Recent evidence suggests that the uPAR is also involved in processes that are not related to plasminogen activation, including cell adhesion and transmission of extracellular signals across the plasma membrane. The uPAR influences cell migration and spreading both in vivo and in vitro through the cell-surface activation of plasminogen. The uPAR can bind to vitronectin, an adhesive extracellular matrix protein that contains the Arg-gly-Asp (RGD) cell adhesion domain and that serves as a ligand for several integrin receptors. uPAR also forms complexes with β1, β2, and β3 integrins, thereby allowing mutual interactions and regulation between cell adhesion and proteolysis. Recently, uPAR has been shown to have strong prognostic value for predicting disease recurrence and overall survival in certain types of cancer. We discuss here the biological significance of uPAR in the glioblastoma invasion process. Strong correlations found between elevated uPAR levels in glioblastoma cells and tumor invasiveness have led to uPAR being selected as a target for therapy in experimental animal models. Using antisense vectors to down regulate uPAR expression at the level of the mRNA and protein in glioblastoma cells, has been shown to inhibit tumor formation in nude mice. These results provide a potential basis from which to develop novel therapeutic strategies to direct the expression of antisense uPAR and to evaluate the efficiency of this technique for cancer gene therapy in patients with brain tumor.