The G protein-coupled receptor proteinase-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) has been implicated in various aspects of cellular physiology including inflammation, obesity and cancer. In cancer, it usually acts as a driver of cancer progression in various tumor types by promoting invasion and metastasis in response to activation by serine proteinases. Recently, we discovered another mode through which PAR2 may enhance tumorigenesis: crosstalk with transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling to promote TGF-β1-induced cell migration/invasion and invasion-associated gene expression in ductal pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells. In this chapter, we review what is known about the cellular TGF-β responses and signaling pathways affected by PAR2 expression, the signaling activities of PAR2 required for promoting TGF-β signaling, and the potential molecular mechanism(s) that underlie(s) the TGF-β signaling-promoting effect. Since PAR2 is activated through various serine proteinases and biased agonists, it may couple TGF-β signaling to a diverse range of other physiological processes that may or may not predispose cells to cancer development such as local inflammation, systemic coagulation and pathogen infection.
Keywords: ALK5; PAR2; TGF-β; pancreatic carcinoma; serine proteinases; signaling.