Rational targeting of the urokinase receptor (uPAR): development of antagonists and non-invasive imaging probes.

Finsen Laboratory, Copenhagen Biocenter, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Current drug targets (Impact Factor: 3.93). 06/2011; 12(12):1711-28. DOI: 10.2174/138945011797635812
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In the last two decades, the urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) has been implicated in a number of human pathologies such as cancer, bacterial infections, and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. The primary function of this glycolipid-anchored receptor is to focalize uPA-mediated plasminogen activation at the cell surface, which is accomplished by its high-affinity interaction with the growth factor-like domain of uPA. Detailed insights into the molecular basis underlying the interactions between uPAR and its two bona fide ligands, uPA and vitronectin, have been obtained recently by X-ray crystallography and surface plasmon resonance studies. Importantly, these structural studies also define possible druggable target sites in uPAR for small molecules and provide guidelines for the development of reporter groups applicable for non-invasive molecular imaging of uPAR expression in vivo by positron emission tomography. In this review, we will discuss recent advances in our perception of the structure-function relationships of uPAR ligation and how these may assist translational research in preclinical intervention studies of uPAR function.

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    ABSTRACT: (64)Cu-DOTA-AE105 is a novel positron emission tomography (PET) tracer specific to the human urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR). In preparation of using this tracer in humans, as a new promising method to distinguish between indolent and aggressive cancers, we have performed PET studies in mice to evaluate the in vivo biodistribution and estimate human dosimetry of (64)Cu-DOTA-AE105. Five mice received iv tail injection of (64)Cu-DOTA-AE105 and were PET/CT scanned 1, 4.5 and 22h post injection. Volume-of-interest (VOI) were manually drawn on the following organs: heart, lung, liver, kidney, spleen, intestine, muscle, bone and bladder. The activity concentrations in the mentioned organs [%ID/g] were used for the dosimetry calculation. The %ID/g of each organ at 1, 4.5 and 22h was scaled to human value based on a difference between organ and body weights. The scaled values were then exported to OLINDA software for computation of the human absorbed doses. The residence times as well as effective dose equivalent for male and female could be obtained for each organ. To validate this approach, of human projection using mouse data, five mice received iv tail injection of another (64)Cu-DOTA peptide-based tracer, (64)Cu-DOTA-TATE, and underwent same procedure as just described. The human dosimetry estimates were then compared with observed human dosimetry estimate recently found in a first-in-man study using (64)Cu-DOTA-TATE. Human estimates of (64)Cu-DOTA-AE105 revealed the heart wall to receive the highest dose (0.0918mSv/MBq) followed by the liver (0.0815mSv/MBq), All other organs/tissue were estimated to receive doses in the range of 0.02-0.04mSv/MBq. The mean effective whole-body dose of (64)Cu-DOTA-AE105 was estimated to be 0.0317mSv/MBq. Relatively good correlation between human predicted and observed dosimetry estimates for (64)Cu-DOTA-TATE was found. Importantly, the effective whole body dose was predicted with very high precision (predicted value: 0.0252mSv/Mbq, Observed value: 0.0315mSv/MBq) thus validating our approach for human dosimetry estimation. Favorable dosimetry estimates together with previously reported uPAR PET data fully support human testing of (64)Cu-DOTA-AE105.
    Nuclear Medicine and Biology 03/2014; 41(3):290-5. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human serum albumin (HSA), a naturally abundant protein in blood plasma and tissue fluids, has an extraordinary ligand-binding capacity and is advocated as a drug carrier to facilitate drug delivery. To render it tumor targeting specificity, we generated a recombinant HSA fused with the amino-terminal fragment (ATF) of urokinase, allowing the fusion protein to bind to urokinase receptor (uPAR), which is shown to have a high expression level in many tumors, but not in normal tissues. To test the efficacy of this bifunctional protein (ATF-HSA), a hydrophobic photosensitizer (mono-substituted β-carboxy phthalocyanine zinc, CPZ) was chosen as a cytotoxic agent. A dilution-incubation-purification (DIP) strategy was developed to load the ATF-HSA with this CPZ, forming a 1:1 molecular complex (ATF-HSA:CPZ). We demonstrated that CPZ was indeed embedded inside ATF-HSA at the fatty acid binding site 1 (FA1) of HSA, giving a hydrodynamic radius of 7.5 nm, close to HSA's (6.5 nm). ATF-HSA:CPZ showed high stability and remarkable optical and photophysical properties in aqueous solution. In addition, the molecular complex ATF-HSA:CPZ can bind to recombinant uPAR in vitro and uPAR on tumor cell surfaces, and was efficient in photodynamic killing of tumor cells. The tumor-killing potency of this molecular complex was further demonstrated in a tumor-bearing mouse model at a dose of 0.080 μmol / kg, or 0.050 mg CPZ / kg of mouse body weight. Using fluorescent molecular tomography (FMT), ATF-HSA:CPZ was shown to accumulate specifically in tumors, and importantly, such tumor retention was higher than that of HSA:CPZ. Together, these results indicate that ATF-HSA:CPZ is not only an efficient tumor-specific cytotoxic agent, but also an useful tumor-specific imaging probe. This bifunctional protein ATF-HSA can also be used as a drug carrier for other types of cytotoxic or imaging agents to render them specificity for uPAR-expressing tumors.
    Theranostics 01/2014; 4(6):642-59. · 7.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is a GPI anchored cell surface protein that is closely associated with invasion, migration, and metastasis of cancer cells. Many functional extracellular proteins and transmembrane receptors interact with uPAR. However, few studies have examined the association of uPAR with cytoplasm proteins. We previously used yeast two-hybrid screening to isolate several novel uPAR-interacting cytoplasmic proteins, including Sprouty1 (SPRY1), an inhibitor of the (Ras-mitogen-activated protein kinase) MAPK pathway. In this study, we show that SPRY1 interacts with uPAR and directs it toward lysosomal-mediated degradation. Overexpression of SPRY1 decreased the cell surface and cytoplasmic uPAR protein level. Moreover, SPRY1 overexpression augmented uPAR-induced cell adhesion to vitronectin as well as proliferation of cancer cells. Our results also further support the critical role of SPRY1 contribution to tumor growth. In a subcutaneous tumor model, overexpression of SPRY1 in HCT116 or A549 xenograft in athymic nude mice led to great suppression of tumor growth. These results show that SPRY1 may affect tumor cell function through direct interaction with uPAR and promote its lysosomal degradation.
    American journal of cancer research. 01/2014; 4(6):683-97.