Quantitative assessment of interaction of urokinase-type plasminogen activator and its receptor (CD87) by use of a solid-phase uPA-ligand binding assay

L. Goretzki, J. Bognacki, M. Koppitz, P. Rettenberger, V. Magdolen, S. Creutzburg, J. Hammelburger, U. H. Weidle, O. Wilhelm, H. Kessler, H. Graeff, M. Schmitt

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7 Scopus citations


Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) is a serine protease which has been implicated in numerous physiological and pathological processes, e.g. tissue remodelling, embryogenesis, fibrinolysis, and tumour spread. uPA protease binds to a specific high-affinity receptor (uPAR; CD87) on normal and tumour cells. This binding is mediated by the growth factor domain of uPA and thus independent of its proteolytic activity. An ELISA-type, solid-phase microtitre plate assay is presented, designed for the quantitation of such uPA molecules capable of binding to the receptor uPAR. This solid-phase uPA-ligand binding assay makes use of the specific, high-affinity interaction of uPA with uPAR. This assay format is different from the common uPA-ELISA which measures uPA antigen but not uPAR-reactivity. Recombinant soluble uPAR (CHO-uPAR), attached to the well of a microtitre plate, serves as the capture molecule for uPA. uPA-containing samples are added to allow binding of uPA to immobilized uPAR. Receptor-bound uPA is then detected by reaction of uPA with biotinylated monoclonal antibody no. 377 (American Diagnostica, Greenwich, CT, USA) directed to the kringle domain of uPA followed by avidin-peroxidase. The solid-phase uPA-ligand binding assay detects various forms of uPA: pro-uPA, HMW-uPA, ATF, GFD but does not react with the low molecular weight form of uPA (LMW-uPA) lacking the uPAR-reactive domain. uPA molecules in which the uPAR-binding domain has been impaired by proteolysis and uPA/uPAR complexes are also excluded from detection. The high sensitivity of the solid-phase uPAligand binding assay (lower limit 2 pM = 0.1 ng uPA/ml) allowed to measure reactive uPA (and fractions thereof) in the supernatants of cultured ovarian cancer cells, in extracts of ovarian and breast cancer tissues, in placenta tissue extracts and in malignant ascites. The solid-phase uPA-ligand binding assay was also used to screen the receptor binding reactivity of recombinant human uPA-polypeptides synthesized by yeast cells and that of synthetic uPA-peptides. The uPAR-blocking capability of uPA-peptides UPA14-32, uPA14-32/H29A, and uPA14-32/N32A, determined by the solidphase uPA-ligand binding assay, was confirmed by flow cytofluorometric analysis employing fluorescent pro-uPA (FITC-pro-uPA) and the uPAR-rich promyeloid cell line U937.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalFibrinolysis and Proteolysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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