Platelet-activating factor mediates MMP-2 expression and activation via phosphorylation of cAMP-response element-binding protein and contributes to melanoma metastasis

Vladislava O. Melnikova, Alexandra A. Mourad-Zeidan, Dina Chelouche Lev, Menashe Bar-Eli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Overexpression of cAMP-response element (CRE)-binding protein (CREB) and activating transcription factor (ATF) 1 contributes to melanoma progression and metastasis at least in part by promoting tumor cell survival and stimulating matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 2 expression. However, little is known about the regulation of CREB and ATF-1 activities and their phosphorylation within the tumor microenvironment. We analyzed the effect of platelet-activating factor (PAF), a potent phospholipid mediator of inflammation, for its ability to activate CREB and ATF-1 in eight cultured human melanoma cell lines, and we found that PAF receptor (PAFR) was expressed in all eight lines. In metastatic melanoma cell lines, PAF induced CREB and ATF-1 phosphorylation via a PAFR-mediated signal transduction mechanism that required pertussis toxin-insensitive Gαq protein and adenylate cyclase activity and was antagonized by a cAMP-dependent protein kinase A and p38 MAPK inhibitors. Addition of PAF to metastatic A375SM cells stimulated CRE-dependent transcription, as observed in a luciferase reporter assay, without increasing the CRE DNA binding capacity of CREB. Furthermore, PAF stimulated the gelatinase activity of MMP-2 by activating transcription and MMP-2 expression. MMP-2 activation correlated with the PAF-induced increase in the expression of an MMP-2 activator, membrane type 1 MMP. PAF-induced expression of pro-MMP-2 was causally related to PAF-induced CREB and ATF-1 phosphorylation; it was prevented by PAFR antagonist and inhibitors of p38 MAPK and protein kinase A and was abrogated upon quenching of CREB and ATF-1 activities by forced overexpression of a dominant-negative form of CREB. PAF-induced MMP-2 activation was also down-regulated by p38 MAPK and protein kinase A inhibitors. Finally, PAFR antagonist PCA4248 inhibited the development of A375SM lung metastasis in nude mice. This result indicated that PAF acts as a promoter of melanoma metastasis in vivo. We proposed that metastatic melanoma cells overexpressing CREB/ATF-1 are better equipped than nonmetastatic cells to respond to PAF within the tumor microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2911-2922
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Feb 2006


FundersFunder number
National Cancer InstituteR01CA076098


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