Protease-activated receptor signalling, endocytic sorting and dysregulation in cancer.J Cell Sci. 2007 Mar 15; 120(Pt 6):921-8.JC
Protease-activated receptors (PARs) are G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that are activated by a unique proteolytic mechanism. PARs play crucial roles in hemostasis and thrombosis, as well as in inflammation and vascular development. Coagulant proteases, which are generated at sites of vascular injury, act mainly through PARs to elicit signalling in a variety of cell types. Since PARs are irreversibly activated signalling must be tightly regulated. Desensitization and trafficking of proteolytically activated PARs control the magnitude, duration and spatial aspects of receptor signalling. Recent studies have revealed novel endocytic sorting mechanisms that regulate PAR signalling. PARs have also been implicated in tumor progression. PARs are overexpressed in several types of malignant cancer, transmit signals in response to tumor-generated proteases and promote tumor growth, invasion and metastasis. Recent work also indicates that matrix metalloprotease 1 (MMP-1) signals through PAR1 to promote tumor growth and invasion. In addition to PAR overexpression, tumor cells display aberrant PAR1 trafficking, which causes persistent signalling and cellular invasion. Thus, a novel type of gain-of-function in GPCR signalling in cancer can be acquired through dysregulation of receptor trafficking.