Analysis of PTHRP binding and signal transduction mechanisms in benign and malignant squamous cells

J. J. Orloff, M. B. Ganz, A. E. Ribaudo, W. J. Burtis, M. Reiss, L. M. Milstone, A. F. Stewart

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93 Scopus citations


We have explored a potential autocrine role for parathyroid hormone- related protein (PTHRP) in malignant squamous carcinoma cells (SqCC) and their nonmalignant counterpart, human epidermal keratinocytes (HK). Specific binding of Tyr36 human PTHRP-(1-36)NH2 {125I-[Tyr36]hPTHRP-(1- 36)NH2} was identified in 75% of unselected SqCC lines. In contrast, no binding was detected on the mouse keratinocyte line BALB-MK or on five different HK lines. Although each SqCC and keratinocyte line secreted immunoreactive PTHRP into its medium, there was no correlation between PTHRP concentration and number of binding sites. Inhibition of binding by [Tyr36]hPTHRP-(1-36)NH2 yielded half-maximal inhibitory concentration values of ~100 nM in all SqCC lines. Affinity cross-linking of SqCC cells revealed 98- and 70-kDa binding proteins with similar affinity (~100 nM). Exposure of fura-2-loaded SqCC cells to PTHRP and PTH resulted in equivalent, dose-dependent transient increases in intracellular calcium [half-maximal effective concentration (EC50) = 0.08 nM]. PTHRP also increased intracellular calcium in HK (EC50 = 0.05 nM). No adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) response to PTHRP or PTH was elicited in either SqCC or HK, despite brisk isoproterenol responses in both. We conclude that high- capacity low-affinity binding sites for PTHRP are detectable in the majority of SqCC lines but not in HK. These low-affinity binding sites are unlikely to represent receptors. The sensitive intracellular calcium response suggests the additional presence of high-affinity receptors on SqCC as well as on HK. However, the failure of PTHRP or PTH to stimulate cAMP production in otherwise cyclase-competent cells suggests that these are not classical PTH receptors. The functional significance of these binding proteins and/or receptors, and their relationship to each other, remains to be defined. The potential autocrine role of PTHRP in the local regulation of benign and malignant squamous epithelia merits further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E599-E607
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5 25-5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • adenylate cyclase
  • autocrine
  • intracellular calcium
  • keratinocytes
  • parathyroid hormone-related protein


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