Simultaneous downregulation of uPAR and MMP-9 induces overexpression of the FADD-associated protein RIP and activates caspase 9-mediated apoptosis in gliomas

Int J Oncol. 2008 Oct;33(4):783-90.


We have previously demonstrated the effectiveness of simultaneous RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated downregulation of urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in inhibiting tumor invasion in vitro and in vivo. In particular, we have shown that the downregulation of uPAR and MMP-9 inhibits intracranial tumor growth. The mechanism of the inhibition of tumor growth has not yet been determined. In this study, we have attempted to explain the mechanisms involved in the inhibition of invasiveness and tumor growth in vitro. SNB19 glioma cells were transfected with scrambled vector plasmid (pSV) and a siRNA-expressing plasmid targeting either uPAR (pU) or MMP-9 (pM) singly or in combination (pUM). Untransfected cells were also used as a control. Western blotting and RT-PCR analyses showed the downregulation of uPAR in pU-transfected cells and MMP-9 in pM-transfected cells. In cells transfected with pUM, we observed down-regulation of both uPAR and MMP-9, thereby indicating the specificity of the siRNA-expressing plasmids. An increase in caspase 9 expression was observed in cells transfected with pUM whereas no change in the level of caspase 9 was observed in pU or pM-transfected cells. Additionally, no change in the expression level of caspase 8 was observed. However, an increase in the expression level of cleaved PARP was observed in the case of cells transfected with pU, pM and pUM. Cells transfected with pUM showed the highest levels of cleaved PARP expression. Expression levels of APAF-1 were also higher in pUM-transfected cells with no change in expression levels of controls and in pU and pM-transfected cells. Total CAD expression levels did not change under any of the transfection conditions. However, immunohistochemical studies demonstrated that CAD was translocated to the nucleus, thereby indicating DNA damage. As determined by Western blot analysis of subcellular fractions, cytoplasmic levels of cytochrome c were also increased. We determined the extent of DNA damage using the TUNEL assay (poly-A termination of free -OH ends of degraded nuclear DNA). Based on our results we conclude that the simultaneous downregulation of uPAR and MMP-9 induces apoptosome-mediated apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Caspase 9 / metabolism*
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Fas-Associated Death Domain Protein / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Glioma / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / biosynthesis*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator


  • FADD protein, human
  • Fas-Associated Death Domain Protein
  • PLAUR protein, human
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • RIPK1 protein, human
  • Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Caspase 9
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9