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Eph receptor tyrosine kinases are considered candidate therapeutic targets in cancer, but they can exert opposing effects on cell growth. In the presence of its ligands, Eph receptor EphA2 suppresses signaling by other growth factor receptors, including ErbB, whereas ligand-independent activation of EphA2 augments ErbB signaling. To deploy EphA2-targeting drugs effectively in tumors, the anti-oncogenic ligand-dependent activation state of EphA2 must be discriminated from its oncogenic ligand-independent state. Because the molecular basis for the latter is little understood, we investigated how the activation state of EphA2 can be switched in tumor tissue. We found that ligand-binding domain of EphA2 is cleaved frequently by the membrane metalloproteinase MT1-MMP, a powerful modulator of the pericellular environment in tumor cells. EphA2 immunostaining revealed a significant loss of the N-terminal portion of EphA2 in areas of tumor tissue that expressed MT1-MMP. Moreover, EphA2 phosphorylation patterns that signify ligand-independent activation were observed specifically in these areas of tumor tissue. Mechanistic experiments revealed that processing of EphA2 by MT1-MMP promoted ErbB signaling, anchorage-independent growth, and cell migration. Conversely, expression of a proteolysis-resistant mutant of EphA2 prevented tumorigenesis and metastasis of human tumor xenografts in mice. Overall, our results showed how the proteolytic state of EphA2 in tumors determines its effector function and influences its status as a candidate biomarker for targeted therapy.
©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.
Although Dopamine and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein, Mr 32000 (DARPP-32) is overexpressed in two-thirds of gastric cancers, its impact on molecular functions has not been fully characterized. In this study, we examined the role of DARPP-32 in gastric cancer cell invasion. Using matrigel-coated Boyden chamber invasion assay, DARPP-32-overexpressing AGS cells showed a three-fold increase in invasion relative to the vector control (P < 0.01). We also tested the transendothelial cell invasion as a measure of cell aggressiveness using the impedance-based human umbilical vein endothelial cells invasion assay and obtained similar results (P < 0.001). Western blot analysis indicated that overexpression of DARPP-32 mediated an increase in the membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) and CXCR4 protein levels. Consistent with the role of MT1-MMP in cleaving extracellular matrix proteins initiating the activation of soluble MMPs, we detected a robust increase in MMP-2 activity in DARPP-32-overexpressing cells. The knockdown of endogenous DARPP-32 in the MKN-45 cells reversed these signaling events and decreased cell invasive activity. We tested whether the invasive activity mediated by DARPP-32 might involve sustained signaling via CXCR4-dependent activation of the MT1-MMP/MMP-2 pathway. The small-molecule CXCR4 antagonist (AMD3100) and CXCR4-siRNA blocked DARPP-32-induced cell invasion. We further examined our hypothesis that DARPP-32 could interact with CXCR4 and stabilize its levels following stimulation with its ligand, CXCL12. Using reciprocal coimmunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence experiments, we found that DARPP-32 and CXCR4 coexist in the same protein complex. DARPP-32 prolonged the CXCR4 protein half-life and reduced ubiquitination of the CXCR4 protein, following treatment with its ligand, CXCL12. In conclusion, these findings show a novel mechanism by which DARPP-32 promotes cell invasion by regulating CXCR4-mediated activation of the MT1-MMP/MMP-2 pathway.
MT1-MMP is a potent invasion-promoting membrane protease employed by aggressive cancer cells. MT1-MMP localizes preferentially at membrane protrusions called invadopodia where it plays a central role in degradation of the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM). Previous reports suggested a role for a continuous supply of MT1-MMP in ECM degradation. However, the turnover rate of MT1-MMP and the extent to which the turnover contributes to the ECM degradation at invadopodia have not been clarified. To approach this problem, we first performed FRAP (Fluorescence Recovery after Photobleaching) experiments with fluorescence-tagged MT1-MMP focusing on a single invadopodium and found very rapid recovery in FRAP signals, approximated by double-exponential plots with time constants of 26 s and 259 s. The recovery depended primarily on vesicle transport, but negligibly on lateral diffusion. Next we constructed a computational model employing the observed kinetics of the FRAP experiments. The simulations successfully reproduced our FRAP experiments. Next we inhibited the vesicle transport both experimentally, and in simulation. Addition of drugs inhibiting vesicle transport blocked ECM degradation experimentally, and the simulation showed no appreciable ECM degradation under conditions inhibiting vesicle transport. In addition, the degree of the reduction in ECM degradation depended on the degree of the reduction in the MT1-MMP turnover. Thus, our experiments and simulations have established the role of the rapid turnover of MT1-MMP in ECM degradation at invadopodia. Furthermore, our simulations suggested synergetic contributions of proteolytic activity and the MT1-MMP turnover to ECM degradation because there was a nonlinear and marked reduction in ECM degradation if both factors were reduced simultaneously. Thus our computational model provides a new in silico tool to design and evaluate intervention strategies in cancer cell invasion.
Extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling regulates multiple cellular functions required for normal development and tissue repair. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are key mediators of this process and membrane targeted MMPs (MT-MMPs) in particular have been shown to be important in normal development of specific organs. In this study we investigated the role of MT1-MMP in kidney development. We demonstrate that loss of MT1-MMP leads to a renal phenotype characterized by a moderate decrease in ureteric bud branching morphogenesis and a severe proliferation defect. The kidneys of MT1-MMP-null mice have increased deposition of collagen IV, laminins, perlecan, and nidogen and the phenotype is independent of the MT-1MMP target, MMP-2. Utilizing in vitro systems we demonstrated that MTI-MMP proteolytic activity is required for renal tubule cells to proliferate in three dimensional matrices and to migrate on collagen IV and laminins. Together these data suggest an important role for MT1-MMP in kidney development, which is mediated by its ability to regulate cell proliferation and migration by proteolytically cleaving kidney basement membrane components.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Proteolysis is essential during branching morphogenesis, but the roles of MT-MMPs and their proteolytic products are not clearly understood. Here, we discover that decreasing MT-MMP activity during submandibular gland branching morphogenesis decreases proliferation and increases collagen IV and MT-MMP expression. Specifically, reducing epithelial MT2-MMP profoundly decreases proliferation and morphogenesis, increases Col4a2 and intracellular accumulation of collagen IV, and decreases the proteolytic release of collagen IV NC1 domains. Importantly, we demonstrate the presence of collagen IV NC1 domains in developing tissue. Furthermore, recombinant collagen IV NC1 domains rescue branching morphogenesis after MT2-siRNA treatment, increasing MT-MMP and proproliferative gene expression via beta1 integrin and PI3K-AKT signaling. Additionally, HBEGF also rescues MT2-siRNA treatment, increasing NC1 domain release, proliferation, and MT2-MMP and Hbegf expression. Our studies provide mechanistic insight into how MT2-MMP-dependent release of bioactive NC1 domains from collagen IV is critical for integrating collagen IV synthesis and proteolysis with epithelial proliferation during branching morphogenesis.
Van Gogh-Like 2 (VANGL2) is a planar cell polarity protein essential for collective migration during embryonic development, yet its contribution to tumor cell motility and invasion are unknown. We report for the first time that loss of VANGL2 in human cancer cells promotes efficient collective and directed migration and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-dependent ECM invasion. We show that VANGL2 knockdown cells exhibit increased activation of secreted MMP2, higher levels of membrane-localized MMP14, and decreased cell-surface fibronectin. These important findings support the notion that planar cell polarity proteins act in coordination with known regulators of cancer cell migration to influence invasion and perhaps metastasis.
Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
The molecular events linking lipid accumulation in atherosclerotic plaques to complications such as aneurysm formation and plaque disruption are poorly understood. BALB/c-Apoe(-/-) mice bearing a null mutation in the Npc1 gene display prominent medial erosion and atherothrombosis, whereas their macrophages accumulate free cholesterol in late endosomes and show increased cathepsin K (Ctsk) expression. We now show increased cathepsin K immunostaining and increased cysteinyl proteinase activity using near infrared fluorescence imaging over proximal aortas of Apoe(-/-), Npc1(-/-) mice. In mechanistic studies, cholesterol loading of macrophage plasma membranes (cyclodextrin-cholesterol) or endosomal system (AcLDL+U18666A or Npc1 null mutation) activated Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling, leading to sustained phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and induction of p38 targets, including Ctsk, S100a8, Mmp8, and Mmp14. Studies in macrophages from knockout mice showed major roles for TLR4, following plasma membrane cholesterol loading, and for TLR3, after late endosomal loading. TLR signaling via p38 led to phosphorylation and activation of the transcription factor Microphthalmia transcription factor, acting at E-box elements in the Ctsk promoter. These studies suggest that free cholesterol enrichment of either plasma or endosomal membranes in macrophages leads to activation of signaling via various TLRs, prolonged p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation, and induction of Mmps, Ctsk, and S100a8, potentially contributing to plaque complications.
Invadopodia are branched actin-rich structures associated with extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation that collectively form the invasive machinery of aggressive cancer cells. Cortactin is a prominent component and a specific marker of invadopodia. Amplification of cortactin is associated with poor prognosis in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), possibly because of its activity in invadopodia. Although the role of cortactin in invadopodia has been attributed to signaling and actin assembly, it is incompletely understood. We made HNSCC cells deficient in cortactin by RNA interference knockdown methods. In these cortactin knockdown cells, invadopodia were reduced in number and lost their ability to degrade ECM. In the reverse experiment, overexpression of cortactin dramatically increased ECM degradation, far above and beyond the effect on formation of actin/Arp3-positive invadopodia puncta. Secretion of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) MMP-2 and MMP-9, as well as plasma membrane delivery of MT1-MMP correlated closely with cortactin expression levels. MMP inhibitor treatment of control cells mimicked the cortactin knockdown phenotype, with abolished ECM degradation and fewer invadopodia, suggesting a positive feedback loop in which degradation products from MMP activity promote new invadopodia formation. Collectively, these data suggest that a major role of cortactin in invadopodia is to regulate the secretion of MMPs and point to a novel mechanism coupling dynamic actin assembly to the secretory machinery, producing enhanced ECM degradation and invasiveness. Furthermore, these data provide a possible explanation for the observed association between cortactin overexpression and enhanced invasiveness and poor prognosis in HNSCC patients.
The extracellular matrix macromolecule laminin-5 (Ln-5) is converted by matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) MT1-MMP and MMP-2 into a migration-promoting substrate in vitro. We now report that cleavage of Ln-5 by MT1-MMP occurs in vivo and affects epithelial tissue organization and probably Ln-5 turnover. In MT1-MMP knockout (KO) mice, the kidneys showed increased levels of total Ln-5 gamma2 subunit, but significantly reduced amounts of gamma2', an amino-terminal truncated proteolytic form of gamma2. The kidney tubular epithelia of KO animals were poorly differentiated, a phenotype reminiscent of human congenital mixed hypoplastic/dysplastic disorders. To establish a better link between Ln-5 proteolytic cleavage and epithelial morphology, MT1-MMP expression was reconstituted by transfection of MT1-MMP into a Ln-5 positive, MT1-MMP deficient epithelial cell line. MT1-MMP transfectants demonstrated increased levels of processed Ln-5 gamma2 chain and enhanced spreading on Ln-5, but not fibronectin. Recombinant MT1-MMP cleaved gamma2 constructs in vitro at a known in vivo gamma2 gamma2' processing site. These results strongly indicate that Ln-5 is a physiological substrate of MT1-MMP in vivo. Proteolytic processing of gamma2 subunit by MT1-MMP may influence Ln-5 turnover in epithelial basement membranes and affect epithelial morphogenesis.