Loss of either hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor (HAI)-1 or -2 is associated with embryonic lethality in mice, which can be rescued by the simultaneous inactivation of the membrane-anchored serine protease, matriptase, thereby demonstrating that a matriptase-dependent proteolytic pathway is a critical developmental target for both protease inhibitors. Here, we performed a genetic epistasis analysis to identify additional components of this pathway by generating mice with combined deficiency in either HAI-1 or HAI-2, along with genes encoding developmentally co-expressed candidate matriptase targets, and screening for the rescue of embryonic development. Hypomorphic mutations in Prss8, encoding the GPI-anchored serine protease, prostasin (CAP1, PRSS8), restored placentation and normal development of HAI-1–deficient embryos and prevented early embryonic lethality, mid-gestation lethality due to placental labyrinth failure, and neural tube defects in HAI-2–deficient embryos. Inactivation of genes encoding c-Met, protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2), or the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) alpha subunit all failed to rescue embryonic lethality, suggesting that deregulated matriptase-prostasin activity causes developmental failure independent of aberrant c-Met and PAR-2 signaling or impaired epithelial sodium transport. Furthermore, phenotypic analysis of PAR-1 and matriptase double-deficient embryos suggests that the protease may not be critical for focal proteolytic activation of PAR-2 during neural tube closure. Paradoxically, although matriptase auto-activates and is a well-established upstream epidermal activator of prostasin, biochemical analysis of matriptase- and prostasin-deficient placental tissues revealed a requirement of prostasin for conversion of the matriptase zymogen to active matriptase, whereas prostasin zymogen activation was matriptase-independent.
Vertebrate embryogenesis is dependent upon a series of precisely coordinated cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation events. Recently, the execution of these events was shown to be guided in part by extracellular cues provided by focal pericellular proteolysis by a newly identified family of membrane-anchored serine proteases. We now show that two of these membrane-anchored serine proteases, prostasin and matriptase, constitute a single proteolytic signaling cascade that is active at multiple stages of development. Furthermore, we show that failure to precisely regulate the enzymatic activity of both prostasin and matriptase by two developmentally co-expressed transmembrane serine protease inhibitors, hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor-1 and -2, causes an array of developmental defects, including clefting of the embryonic ectoderm, lack of placental labyrinth formation, and inability to close the neural tube. Our study also provides evidence that the failure to regulate the prostasin–matriptase cascade may derail morphogenesis independent of the activation of known protease-regulated developmental signaling pathways. Because hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor–deficiency in humans is known to cause an assortment of common and rare developmental abnormalities, the aberrant activity of the prostasin–matriptase cascade identified in our study may contribute importantly to genetic as well as sporadic birth defects in humans.
Matriptase is a type II transmembrane protease that is characterized by an N-terminal transmembrane and multiple extracellular domains, in addition to the conserved extracellular serine protease catalytic domain. The expression pattern of matriptase suggests that this protease may play broad roles in the biology of surface lining epithelial cells. In this study we report that α1-antitrypsin (AAT), an endogenous inhibitor of serine proteases, inhibits the catalytic domain of human recombinant matriptase in vitro. Co-incubation of AAT with matriptase (at a molar ratio 1:2) resulted in the formation of heat stable complexes, clearly seen in sodium dodecyl sulfate electrophoresis and Western blots. AAT was found to be a slow, tight-binding inhibitor of the catalytic domain of matriptase with a second order reaction rate constant of 0.31 × 103 M−1s−1. Notably, the oxidized form of AAT, which lacks serine protease inhibitor activity, failed to generate matriptase complexes and to inhibit matriptase activity. Since matriptase is involved in a number of physiologic processes, including activation of epithelial sodium channels, our findings offer considerable new insights into new regulatory function of AAT in vivo.
serine proteases; α1-antitrypsin; matriptase; complex formation; kinetics
The cell surface protease membrane-type serine protease 1 [MT-SP1]/matriptase is often upregulated in epithelial cancers. A dysregulation in MT-SP1/matriptase levels with respect to its cognate inhibitor hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor-1 [HAI-1] suggests that it is an increase in proteolytic activity that significantly differentiates malignant from normal tissue. Here we use antibodies to demonstrate that MT-SP1 is active on cancer cells and that this activity may be targeted for tumor detection in vivo. A proteolytic activity assay with the MT-SP1-positive human cancer cell lines MCF-7, HT29, LNCaP, and MDA-MB-468 showed that the antibodies, which inhibit recombinant catalytic MT-SP1, are able to bind and inhibit the full-length enzyme. The same experiment with the MT-SP1-negative breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231, COLO 320DM and HT1080 showed no inhibition of proteolysis. Fluorescent microscopy then confirmed localization of labeled antibodies to the surface of MT-SP1-positive cells. To evaluate these antibodies as probes for targeting MT-SP1 activity in vivo, 0.7-2 nanomoles of fluorescently labeled antibodies were administered to xenograft mouse cancer models. The antibodies localized to the MT-SP1-positive MCF-7 and MCF-7/Luc+ tumors (n=3), permitting visualization of MT-SP1 activity. Fluorescence was not observed in MT-SP1-negative MDA-MD-231/Luc+ tumors (n=2), suggesting that MT-SP1 activity is a novel biomarker for epithelial cancer and these antibodies provide a non-invasive method for detecting this activity in vivo.
Cancer; MT-SP1; Matriptase; Protease Activity
Matriptase is a type II transmembrane serine protease that is found on the surfaces of epithelial cells and certain cancer cells. Matriptase has been implicated in the degradation of certain extracellular matrix components as well as the activation of various cellular proteins and proteases, including hepatocyte growth factor and urokinase. Sunflower trypsin inhibitor-1 (SFTI-1), a cyclic peptide inhibitor originally isolated from sunflower seeds, exhibits potent inhibitory activity toward matriptase.
We have engineered and produced recombinant proteins of the matriptase protease domain, and have determined the crystal structures of the protease:SFTI-1 complex at 2.0 Å as well as the protease:benzamidine complex at 1.2 Å. These structures elaborate the structural basis of substrate selectivity of matriptase, and show that the matriptase S1 substrate specificity pocket is larger enough to allow movement of benzamidine inside the S1 pocket. Our study also reveals that SFTI-1 binds to matriptase in a way similar to its binding to trypsin despite the significantly different isoelectric points of the two proteins (5.6 vs. 8.2).
This work helps to define the structural basis of substrate specificity of matriptase and the interactions between the inhibitor and protease. The complex structure also provides a structural template for designing new SFTI-1 derivatives with better potency and selectivity against matriptase and other proteases.
Hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor type I (HAI-1) is a membrane-bound, serine protease inhibitor with two protease-inhibitory domains (Kunitz domain I and II). HAI-1 is known as a physiological inhibitor of a membrane-bound serine protease, matriptase. Paradoxically, however, HAI-1 has been found to be required for the extracellular appearance of the protease in an expression system using a monkey kidney COS-1 cell line. In the present study, we show using COS-1 cells that co-expression of recombinant variants of HAI-1 with the inhibition activity toward matriptase, including a variant consisting only of Kunitz domain I (the domain responsible for inhibition of matriptase), allowed for the appearance of this protease in the conditioned medium, whereas that of the variants without the activity did not. These findings suggest that the inhibition activity toward matriptase is critical for the extracellular appearance of protease in COS-1 cells.
Extracellular occurrence of matriptase; Hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor type 1; Intracellular environments; Kunitz domain; Matriptase-inhibitory activity
Matriptase is a type II transmembrane serine protease expressed in most
human epithelia, where it is coexpressed with its cognate transmembrane
inhibitor, hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor (HAI)-1. Activation
of the matriptase zymogen requires sequential N-terminal cleavage, activation
site autocleavage, and transient association with HAI-1. Matriptase
has an essential physiological role in profilaggrin processing, corneocyte
maturation, and lipid matrix formation associated
with terminal differentiation of the oral epithelium and the epidermis, and
is also critical for hair follicle growth. Matriptase and HAI expression
are frequently dysregulated in human cancer, and matriptase expression
that is unopposed by HAI-1 potently promotes carcinogenesis
and metastatic dissemination in animal models.
Clinical trials where cancer patients were treated with protease inhibitors have suggested that the serine protease, prostasin, may act as a tumour suppressor. Prostasin is proteolytically activated by the serine protease, matriptase, which has a very high oncogenic potential. Prostasin is inhibited by protease nexin-1 (PN-1) and the two isoforms encoded by the mRNA splice variants of hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor-1 (HAI-1), HAI-1A, and HAI-1B.
Using quantitative RT-PCR, we have determined the mRNA levels for prostasin and PN-1 in colorectal cancer tissue (n = 116), severe dysplasia (n = 13), mild/moderate dysplasia (n = 93), and in normal tissue from the same individuals. In addition, corresponding tissues were examined from healthy volunteers (n = 23). A part of the cohort was further analysed for the mRNA levels of the two variants of HAI-1, here denoted HAI-1A and HAI-1B. mRNA levels were normalised to β-actin. Immunohistochemical analysis of prostasin and HAI-1 was performed on normal and cancer tissue.
The mRNA level of prostasin was slightly but significantly decreased in both mild/moderate dysplasia (p < 0.001) and severe dysplasia (p < 0.01) and in carcinomas (p < 0.05) compared to normal tissue from the same individual. The mRNA level of PN-1 was more that two-fold elevated in colorectal cancer tissue as compared to healthy individuals (p < 0.001) and elevated in both mild/moderate dysplasia (p < 0.01), severe dysplasia (p < 0.05) and in colorectal cancer tissue (p < 0.001) as compared to normal tissue from the same individual. The mRNA levels of HAI-1A and HAI-1B mRNAs showed the same patterns of expression. Immunohistochemistry showed that prostasin is located mainly on the apical plasma membrane in normal colorectal tissue. A large variation was found in the degree of polarization of prostasin in colorectal cancer tissue.
These results show that the mRNA level of PN-1 is significantly elevated in colorectal cancer tissue. Future studies are required to clarify whether down-regulation of prostasin activity via up regulation of PN-1 is causing the malignant progression or if it is a consequence of it.
The liver peptide hepcidin regulates body iron, is upregulated in iron overload and inflammation and downregulated in iron deficiency/hypoxia. The transmembrane serine protease matriptase-2 (TMPRSS6) inhibits the hepcidin response and its mutational inactivation causes iron-deficient anemia in mice and humans. Here we confirm the inhibitory effect of matriptase-2 on hepcidin promoter; we show that matriptase-2 lacking the serine protease domain, identified in the anemic Mask mouse (matriptase-2MASK), is fully inactive and that mutant R774C found in patients with genetic iron deficiency has decreased inhibitory activity. Matriptase-2 cleaves hemojuvelin (HJV), a regulator of hepcidin, on plasma membrane; matriptase-2MASK shows no and the human mutant only partial cleavage capacity. Matriptase-2 interacts with HJV through the ectodomain since the interaction is conserved in matriptase-2MASK. The expression of matriptase-2 mutants in zebrafish results in anemia, confirming the matriptase-2 role in iron metabolism and its interaction with HJV.
Deficiency in the serine protease inhibitor LEKTI is the etiological origin of Netherton syndrome. The principal morbidities of the disease are stratum corneum detachment and chronic inflammation. We show that the membrane protease, matriptase, initiates Netherton syndrome in a LEKTI-deficient mouse model by premature activation of a pro-kallikrein-related cascade. Auto-activation of pro-inflammatory and stratum corneum detachment-associated pro-kallikrein-related peptidases was either low or undetectable, but they were efficiently activated by matriptase. Ablation of matriptase from LEKTI-deficient mice dampened inflammation, eliminated aberrant protease activity, prevented stratum corneum detachment, and improved epidermal barrier function. The study uncovers a pathogenic matriptase-pro-kallikrein pathway that could be operative in several human skin and inflammatory diseases.
asthma; atopic dermatitis; autoimmunity; inflammatory signaling; proteolytic pathway
The type II transmembrane serine protease (TTSP) family consists of eighteen closely related serine proteases that are implicated in multiple functions. To identify selective, inhibitory antibodies against one particular TTSP, matriptase (MT-SP1), a phage display library with a natural repertoire of Fabs from human naïve B cells was created. Fab A11 was identified with a 720 picomolar inhibition constant and high specificity for matriptase over other trypsin-fold serine proteases. A Trichoderma reesei system expressed A11 with ~200 mg/L yield. The crystal structure of A11 in complex with matriptase has been determined and compared to the crystal structure of another antibody inhibitor (S4) in complex with matriptase. Previously discovered from a synthetic scFv library, S4 is also a highly selective and potent matriptase inhibitor. The crystal structures of the A11/matriptase and S4/matriptase complexes were solved to 2.1 Å and 1.5 Å respectively. Although these antibodies, discovered from separate libraries, interact differently with the protease surface loops for their specificity, the structures reveal a similar novel mechanism of protease inhibition. Through the insertion of the H3 variable loop in a reverse orientation at the substrate-binding pocket, these antibodies bury a large surface area for potent inhibition and avoid proteolytic inactivation. This discovery highlights the critical role the antibody scaffold plays in positioning loops to bind and inhibit protease function in a highly selective manner. Additionally, Fab A11 is a fully human antibody that specifically inhibits matriptase over other closely related proteases, suggesting this approach could be useful for clinical applications.
antibody; specificity; matriptase; structure; protease inhibitor
The progression and negative outcome of a variety of human carcinomas is intimately associated with aberrant activity of the c-Met oncogene. The underlying cause of this dysregulation, however, remains a subject of discussion, as the majority of cancer patients do not present with activating mutations in c-Met receptor itself. Here we show that the oncogenic protease matriptase is ubiquitously co-expressed with the c-Met in human squamous cell carcinomas and amplifies migratory and proliferative responses of primary epithelial cells to the cognate ligand for c-Met, proHGF/SF, through c-Met and Gab1 signaling. Furthermore, the selective genetic ablation of c-Met from matriptase-expressing keratinocytes completely negates the oncogenic potential of matriptase. In addition, matriptase-dependent carcinoma formation could be blocked by the pharmacologic inhibition of the Akt-mTor pathway. Our data identify matriptase as an initiator of c-Met-Akt-mTor-dependent signaling axis in tumors and reveal mTor activation as an essential component of matriptase/c-Met-induced carcinogenesis. The study provides a specific example of how epithelial transformation can be promoted by epigenetic acquisition of the capacity to convert a widely available paracrine growth factor precursor to its signaling competent state.
hepatocyte growth factor in carcinoma; mTor; protease-activated signaling; cell surface proteases
Prostasin is expressed at the apical surface of normal epithelial cells and suppresses in vitro invasion of cancer cells. Prostasin re-expression in the PC-3 prostate carcinoma cells down-regulated the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein expression and EGF-induced phosphorylation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases (Erk1/2). We report here that prostasin and its activating enzyme matriptase are capable of inducing proteolytic cleavages in the EGFR extracellular domain (ECD) when co-expressed in the FT-293 cells, generating two amino-terminally truncated fragments EGFR135 and EGFR110, at 135 and 110 kDa. Prostasin’s role in EGFR cleavage is dependent on the serine active site but not the GPI-anchor. The modifications of EGFR were confirmed to be on the primary structure by deglycosylation. EGFR135 and EGFR110 are not responsive to EGF stimulation, indicating loss of the ligand-binding domains. EGFR110 is constitutively phosphorylated and in its presence Erk1/2 phosphorylation is increased in the absence of EGF. The protease-induced EGFR cleavages are not dependent on EGFR phosphorylation. The EGFR ECD proteolytic modification by matriptase-prostasin is also observed in the BEAS-2B normal lung epithelial cells, the BPH-1 benign prostate hyperplasia and the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines; and represents a novel mechanism for epithelial cells to modulate EGF-EGFR signaling.
ErbB Receptor Tyrosine Kinases; GPI-anchor; Transmembrane Glycoprotein; Extracellular Signal-regulated Kinases; MT-SP1; PRSS8
Matriptase is a type II transmembrane serine protease. This protease is strongly expressed in simple epithelial cells such as enterocytes and kidney tubular cells in which the plasma membranes are separated into apical and basolateral domains. Although matriptase was found previously to occur exclusively on the basolateral membrane of enterocytes, the underlying mechanism of localization is unclear. In the present study, a full-length rat matriptase and a chimera consisting of the cytoplasmic and transmembrane regions of the protease and green fluorescent protein (designated as 1–86GFP) were found to localize exclusively to the basolateral membrane domain when expressed in Madin–Darby canine kidney epithelial cells. Mutagenesis analysis of 1–86GFP revealed that the matriptase cytoplasmic juxtamembrane amino acid residues (Lys45, Val47, and Arg50) play a role in mediating the localization in the cells. This study provides the first evidence that matriptase carries information for its localization in simple epithelia.
Basolateral localization; Cytoplasmic juxtamembrane region; Madin–Darby canine kidney epithelial cells; Matriptase; Type II transmembrane serine protease
Iron, an essential element for life, is regulated primarily at the level of uptake, storage, and transport in order to maintain sufficient availability for normal physiology. The key protein in iron homeostasis is a 25-amino-acid peptide, hepcidin, which modulates the amount of iron in the circulation by binding and promoting the degradation of the iron exporter ferroportin. Given the central importance of hepcidin, recent studies have focused on how iron is sensed and how the iron signal is transmitted to hepcidin. Mutations in a type II serine protease, matriptase-2/TMPRSS6, were recently identified to be associated with severe iron deficiency caused by inappropriately high levels of hepcidin expression. A key biologically relevant substrate for the proteolytic activity of matriptase-2/TMPRSS6 was found to be hemojuvelin, a cell surface protein that regulates hepcidin expression through a BMP/SMAD pathway. In this review, we discuss the putative role of matriptase-2/TMPRSS6 in iron homeostasis.
CUB; Hemojuvelin; Hepcidin; Iron; LDLa; Matriptase; TMPRSS; Type II serine protease
The mechanisms of inhibition of two novel scFv antibody inhibitors of the serine protease MT-SP1/matriptase reveal the basis of their potency and specificity. Kinetic experiments characterize the inhibitors as extremely potent inhibitors with KI’s in the low picomolar range that compete with substrate binding in the S1 site. Alanine scanning of the loops surrounding the protease active site provide a rationale for inhibitor specificity. Each antibody binds to a number of residues flanking the active site, forming a unique three-dimensional binding epitope. Interestingly, one inhibitor binds in the active site cleft in a substrate-like manner, can be processed by MT-SP1 at low pH, and is a standard mechanism inhibitor of the protease. The mechanisms of inhibition provide a rationale for the effectiveness of these inhibitors, and suggest that the development of specific antibody-based inhibitors against individual members of closely related enzyme families is feasible, and an effective way to develop tools to tease apart complex biological processes.
antibody; standard mechanism protease inhibitor; specificity; serine protease; HuCAL
It has recently been shown that overexpression of the serine protease, matriptase, in transgenic mice causes a dramatically increased frequency of carcinoma formation. Overexpression of HAI-1 and matriptase together changed the frequency of carcinoma formation to normal. This suggests that the ratio of matriptase to HAI-1 influences the malignant progression. The aim of this study has been to determine the ratio of matriptase to HAI-1 mRNA expression in affected and normal tissue from individuals with colorectal cancer adenomas and carcinomas as well as in healthy individuals, in order to determine at which stages a dysregulated ratio of matriptase/HAI-1 mRNA is present during carcinogenesis.
Using quantitative RT-PCR, we have determined the mRNA levels for matriptase and HAI-1 in colorectal cancer tissue (n = 9), severe dysplasia (n = 15), mild/moderate dysplasia (n = 21) and in normal tissue from the same individuals. In addition, corresponding tissue was examined from healthy volunteers (n = 10). Matriptase and HAI-1 mRNA levels were normalized to β-actin.
Matriptase mRNA level was lower in carcinomas compared to normal tissue from healthy individuals (p < 0.01). In accordance with this, the matriptase mRNA level was also lower in adenomas/carcinomas combined as compared to their adjacent normal tissue (p < 0.01). HAI-1 mRNA levels in both normal and affected tissue from individuals with severe dysplasia or carcinomas and in affected tissue with mild/moderate dysplasia were all significantly lower than mRNA levels observed in corresponding tissue from healthy control individuals. HAI-1 mRNA was lower in carcinomas as compared to normal tissue from healthy individuals (p < 0.001). HAI-1 mRNA levels were significantly lower in tissue displaying mild/moderate (p < 0.001) and severe (p < 0.01) dysplasia compared to normal tissue from the same patients. Both adenomas and carcinomas displayed a significantly different matriptase/HAI-1 mRNA ratio than corresponding normal tissue from healthy control individuals (p < 0.05). In addition statistically significant difference (p < 0.001) could be observed between mild/moderate and severe adenomas and their adjacent normal tissue.
Our results show that dysregulation of the matriptase/HAI-1 mRNA ratio occurs early during carcinogenesis. Future studies are required to clarify whether the dysregulated matriptase/HAI-1 ratio was causing the malignant progression or is a consequence of the same.
Profilaggrin is a large epidermal polyprotein that is proteolytically processed during keratinocyte differentiation to release multiple filaggrin monomer units as well as a calcium-binding regulatory NH2-terminal filaggrin S-100 protein. We show that epidermal deficiency of the transmembrane serine protease Matriptase/MT-SP1 perturbs lipid matrix formation, cornified envelope morphogenesis, and stratum corneum desquamation. Surprisingly, proteomic analysis of Matriptase/MT-SP1–deficient epidermis revealed the selective loss of both proteolytically processed filaggrin monomer units and the NH2-terminal filaggrin S-100 regulatory protein. This was associated with a profound accumulation of profilaggrin and aberrant profilaggrin-processing products in the stratum corneum. The data identify keratinocyte Matriptase/MT-SP1 as an essential component of the profilaggrin-processing pathway and a key regulator of terminal epidermal differentiation.
barrier function; lipid lamellar bodies; membrane serine protease; profilaggrin; stratum corneum
Increasing evidence indicates the significance of platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β (β-PDGFR) signaling in prostate cancer (PCa). Accordingly, preclinical studies suggest the potential of β-PDGFR as a therapeutic target in metastatic PCa. However, a ligand responsible for β-PDGFR activation in PCa was unknown, and recent clinical trials with imatinib mesylate showed limited success due to normal tissue toxicity. Similarly, in spite of mounting evidence indicating the significance of matriptase in PCa, little is known about its substrates or molecular actions during PCa progression. Here, we identified PDGF-D as a ligand for β-PDGFR in PCa and discovered matriptase as its regulator. Matriptase activates PDGF-D by proteolytic removal of the CUB domain in a two-step process, creating a hemidimer (HD) followed by growth factor domain dimer (GFD-D) generation. Matriptase can deactivate PDGF-D by further proteolytic cleavage within the GFD, revealing its biphasic regulation. Importantly, PDGF-D/matriptase co-localization is accompanied with β-PDGFR phosphorylation in human PCa tissues. This study unveiled a novel signaling axis of matriptase/PDGF-D/β-PDGFR in PCa, providing new insights into functional interplay between serine protease and growth factor signaling networks.
Genitourinary cancers; prostate; Protease-inhibitor systems; Growth factors and receptors
We report an unexpected role for protease signaling in neural tube closure and formation of the central nervous system. Mouse embryos lacking protease-activated receptor 1 and 2 showed defective hindbrain and posterior neuropore closure and developed exencephaly and spina bifida, important human congenital anomalies. Par1 and Par2 were expressed in surface ectoderm, Par2 selectively along the line of closure. Ablation of Gi/z and Rac1 function in these Par2-expressing cells disrupted neural tube closure, further implicating G protein-coupled receptors and identifying a likely effector pathway. Cluster analysis of protease and Par2 expression patterns revealed a group of membrane-tethered proteases often co-expressed with Par2. Among these, matriptase activated Par2 with picomolar potency, and hepsin and prostasin activated matriptase. Together, our results suggest a role for protease-activated receptor signaling in neural tube closure and identify a local protease network that may trigger Par2 signaling and monitor and regulate epithelial integrity in this context.
Hepcidin is the master regulator of iron homeostasis. In the liver, iron-dependent hepcidin activation is regulated through Bmp6 and its membrane receptor hemojuvelin (Hjv) whereas, in response to iron deficiency, hepcidin repression seems to be controlled by a pathway involving the serine protease matriptase-2 (encoded by Tmprss6). To determine the relationship between Bmp6 and matriptase-2 pathways, Tmprss6−/− mice (characterized by increased hepcidin levels and anemia) and Bmp6−/− mice (exhibiting severe iron overload due to hepcidin deficiency) were intercrossed. We showed that loss of Bmp6 decreased hepcidin levels, increased hepatic iron and, importantly, corrected hematological abnormalities in Tmprss6−/− mice. This suggests that elevated hepcidin levels in patients with familial iron-refractory iron deficiency anemia are due to excess signaling through the Bmp6/Hjv pathway.
Anemia, Iron-Deficiency; metabolism; Animals; Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides; metabolism; Bone Morphogenetic Protein 6; metabolism; Female; Iron; metabolism; Iron, Dietary; metabolism; Liver; metabolism; Membrane Proteins; metabolism; Mice; Mice, Knockout; Serine Endopeptidases; metabolism; Signal Transduction; physiology; hepcidin; hemojuvelin; bmp6; matriptase2; tmprss6
Iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia. In end-stage renal disease (ESRD), iron deficiency impairs the therapeutic efficacy of recombinant erythropoietin. Oral or parental iron supplements usually are effective in treating iron deficiency anemia (IDA). Some patients, however, respond poorly to iron supplements and are diagnosed as having iron-refractory iron deficiency anemia (IRIDA). The disease represents a medical challenge but its underlying mechanism was unclear. Hepcidin is a central player in iron homeostasis. It down-regulates the iron exporter ferroportin, thereby inhibiting iron absorption, release and recycling. In ESRD, plasma hepcidin levels are elevated, which contributes to iron deficiency in patients. Matriptase-2, a liver transmembrane serine protease, has been found to have a major role in controlling hepcidin gene expression. In mice, defects in the Tmprss6 gene encoding matriptase-2 result in high hepcidin expression and cause severe microcytic anemia. Similarly, mutations in the human TMPRSS6 gene have been identified in patients with IRIDA. Thus, matriptase-2 is critical for iron homeostasis and may play a role in renal disease.
matriptase-2; TMPRSS6; hepcidin; end-stage renal disease; EPO resistance
Extracellular proteases of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and serine protease families participate in many aspects of tumour growth and metastasis. Using quantitative real-time RT–PCR analysis, we have undertaken a comprehensive survey of the expression of these enzymes and of their natural inhibitors in 44 cases of human prostate cancer and 23 benign prostate specimens. We found increased expression of MMP10, 15, 24, 25 and 26, urokinase plasminogen activator-receptor (uPAR) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI1), and the newly characterised serine proteases hepsin and matriptase-1 (MTSP1) in malignant tissue compared to benign prostate tissue. In contrast, there was significantly decreased expression of MMP2 and MMP23, maspin, and the protease inhibitors tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 (TIMP3), TIMP4 and RECK (reversion-inducing cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motifs) in the cancer specimens. The expression of MMP15 and MMP26 correlated positively with Gleason score, whereas TIMP3, TIMP4 and RECK expression correlated negatively with Gleason score. The cellular localisation of the expression of the deregulated genes was evaluated using primary malignant epithelial and stromal cell cultures derived from radical prostatectomy specimens. MMP10 and 25, hepsin, MTSP1 and maspin showed predominantly epithelial expression, whereas TIMP 3 and 4, RECK, MMP2 and 23, uPAR and PAI1 were produced primarily by stromal cells. These data provide the first comprehensive and quantitative analysis of the expression and localisation of MMPs and their inhibitors in human prostate cancer, leading to the identification of several genes involved in proteolysis as potential prognostic indicators, in particular hepsin, MTSP1, MMP26, PAI1, uPAR, MMP15, TIMP3, TIMP4, maspin and RECK.
matrix metalloproteinases; serine proteases; prostate cancer
A serine protease prostasin has been demonstrated to have a pivotal role in the activation of the epithelial sodium channel. Systemic administration of adenovirus carrying human prostasin gene in rats resulted in an increase in plasma prostasin and aldosterone levels. However, the mechanism by which the elevation of prostasin levels in the systemic circulation stimulated the plasma aldosterone levels remains unknown. Therefore, we examined if prostasin increases the aldosterone synthesis in a human adrenocortical cell line (H295R cells). Luciferase assay using CYP11B2 promoter revealed that prostasin significantly increased the transcriptional activity of CYP11B2. Prostasin significantly increased both CYP11B2 mRNA expression and aldosterone production in a dose-dependent manner. Surprisingly, treatment with camostat mesilate, a potent prostasin inhibitor, had no effect on the aldosterone synthesis by prostasin and also a protease-dead mutant of prostasin significantly stimulated the aldosterone production. A T-type/L-type calcium channel blocker and a protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor significantly reduced the aldosterone synthesis by prostasin. Our findings suggest a stimulatory effect of prostasin on the aldosterone synthesis by adrenal gland through the nonproteolytic action and indicate a new role of prostasin in the systemic circulation.
Overexpression of matriptase has been reported in a variety of human cancers and is sufficient to trigger tumor formation in mice, but the importance of matriptase in breast cancer remains unclear. We analysed matriptase expression in 16 human breast cancer cell lines and in 107 primary breast tumors. The data revealed considerable diversity in the expression level of this protein indicating that the significance of matriptase may vary from case to case. Matriptase protein expression was correlated with HER2 expression and highest expression was seen in HER2-positive cell lines, indicating a potential role in this subgroup. Stable overexpression of matriptase in two breast cancer cell lines had different consequences. In MDA-MB-231 human breast carcinoma cells the only noted consequence of matriptase overexpression was modestly impaired growth in vivo. In contrast, overexpression of matriptase in 4T1 mouse breast carcinoma cells resulted in visible changes in morphology, actin staining and cell to cell contacts. This correlated with downregulation of the cell-cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin. These results suggest that the functions of matriptase in breast cancer are likely to be variable and cell context dependent.
Hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor type 1 (HAI-1) is a membrane-associated Kunitz-type serine proteinase inhibitor that was initially identified as a potent inhibitor of hepatocyte growth factor activator. HAI-1 is also a cognate inhibitor of matriptase, a membrane-associated serine proteinase. HAI-1 is expressed predominantly in epithelial cells in the human body. Its mRNA is also abundant in human placenta, with HAI-1 specifically expressed by villous cytotrophoblasts. In order to address the precise roles of HAI-1 in vivo, we generated HAI-1 mutant mice by homozygous recombination. Heterozygous HAI-1+/− mice underwent normal organ development. However, homozygous HAI-1−/− mice experienced embryonic lethality which became evident at embryonic day 10.5 postcoitum (E10.5). As early as E9.5, HAI-1−/− embryos showed growth retardation that did not reflect impaired cell proliferation but resulted instead from failed placental development and function. Histological analysis revealed severely impaired formation of the labyrinth layer, in contrast all other placental layers, such as the spongiotrophoblast layer and giant cell layer, which were formed. Our results indicate that mouse HAI-1 is essential for branching morphogenesis in the chorioallantoic placenta and lack of HAI-1 function may result in placental failure.