Urokinase-type and tissue-type plasminogen activators are essential for in vitro invasion of human melanoma cells

Exp Cell Res. 1991 Feb;192(2):453-9. doi: 10.1016/0014-4827(91)90064-2.


This study evaluates the contribution of two types of plasminogen activators (PAs; tissue-type PA (tPA) versus urokinase-type PA (uPA) toward the invasiveness of human melanoma cells in a novel in vitro assay. We identified two human melanoma cell lines, MelJuso and MeWo, expressing uPA or tPA as shown at mRNA, protein, and enzyme activity level. MelJuso cells produced uPA as well as plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). The latter was, however, not sufficient to neutralize the cell-associated or secreted uPA activity. MeWo cells secreted tPA, but the enzyme was not found to be cell-associated. PAI-1 production by these cells was not detectable. Plasminogen activation and fibrinolytic capacity of both cell lines were reduced by anticatalytic monoclonal antibodies specific for the respective type of PA or by aprotinin. In a novel in vitro invasion assay, antibodies to PA as well as aprotinin decreased the invasiveness of both cell lines into a fibrin gel, Matrigel, or intact extracellular matrix. Our results confirm the importance of uPA-catalyzed plasminogen activation in tumor cell invasiveness. Furthermore, we provide evidence that tPA, beyond its key role in thrombolysis, can also be involved in in vitro invasion of human melanoma cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Drug Combinations
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Fibrin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Laminin / metabolism
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Plasminogen Activators / biosynthesis
  • Plasminogen Activators / physiology*
  • Plasminogen Inactivators / metabolism
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / biosynthesis
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / physiology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / biosynthesis
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / physiology*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Laminin
  • Plasminogen Inactivators
  • Proteoglycans
  • matrigel
  • Fibrin
  • Collagen
  • Plasminogen Activators
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator