The urokinase receptor: a ligand or a receptor? Story of a sociable molecule

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 May;63(9):1028-37. doi: 10.1007/s00018-005-5428-1.


In this last decade, the structure and functions of the receptor for the urokinase-type plasminogen activator have been extensively studied and characterized. This interesting receptor plays a key role in cell adhesion, migration and proliferation. It was identified 20 years ago as the specific cell-surface molecule that could bind and concentrate urokinase on the cell membrane, thus initiating the proteolytic cascade promoted by the activation of plasminogen. The identification of new extracellular ligands, such as vitronectin, and of cell-surface interactors, such as integrins and fMet-Leu-Phe receptors, shed new light on its possible roles, totally independent of the enzymatic properties of its ligand. uPAR ligands and interactors and the functional consequences of the multiple binding capability of this intriguing receptor are reviewed here.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Integrins / metabolism*
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptor Cross-Talk*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / chemistry
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Formyl Peptide / physiology*
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • Signal Transduction


  • Integrins
  • Ligands
  • Plaur protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Formyl Peptide
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator