From Rous sarcoma virus to plasminogen activator, src oncogene and cancer management

M. Sudol

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Plasminogen activator (PLAU) is a serine protease that converts plasminogen to plasmin, a general protease, which promotes fibrinolysis and degradation of extracellular matrix. PLAU was reported in 1970s as one of the robustly induced enzymatic activities in Rous sarcoma virus (RSV)-transformed chicken cells. More than three decades later, with the completion of the sequencing of the chicken genome and the subsequent availability of Affymetrix GeneChip genome arrays, several laboratories have surveyed the transcriptional program affected by the RSV transformation. Interestingly, the PLAU gene was shown to be the most highly upregulated transcript. The induction of PLAU was a transformation-dependent process because viruses with deleted Src gene did not induce the transcription of the PLAU gene. Both Src and PLAU genes are associated with and contribute to the complex phenotype of human cancer. Although the activity and structures of these two enzymes are well characterized, the precise molecular function of these gene products in signaling networks is still not fully understood. Yet, the knowledge of their association with cancer is already translated into the clinical setting. Src kinase inhibitors are being tested in clinical trials of cancer therapy, and PLAU gene and its inhibitor have been included as biomarkers with strong prognostic and therapeutic predictive values. This vignette reviews the history of PLAU and Src discovery, and illuminates the complexity of their relationship, but also points to their emerging impact on public health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3003-3010
Number of pages8
Issue number27
StatePublished - 7 Jul 2011


  • Affymetrix
  • Fischer
  • Lipmann
  • Rous sarcoma virus
  • The Rockefeller University
  • urokinase


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