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1.  Investigation of a MMP-2 Activity-Dependent Anchoring Probe for Nuclear Imaging of Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102180.
Since matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) is an important marker of tumor malignancy, we developed an original drug design strategy, MMP-2 activity dependent anchoring probes (MDAP), for use in MMP-2 activity imaging, and evaluated the usefulness of this probe in in vitro and in vivo experiments.
We designed and synthesized MDAP1000, MDAP3000, and MDAP5000, which consist of 4 independent moieties: RI unit (111In hydrophilic chelate), MMP-2 substrate unit (short peptide), anchoring unit (alkyl chain), and anchoring inhibition unit (polyethylene glycol (PEGn; where n represents the approximate molecular weight, n = 1000, 3000, and 5000). Probe cleavage was evaluated by chromatography after MMP-2 treatment. Cellular uptake of the probes was then measured. Radioactivity accumulation in tumor xenografts was evaluated after intravenous injection of the probes, and probe cleavage was evaluated in tumor homogenates.
MDAP1000, MDAP3000, and MDAP5000 were cleaved by MMP-2 in a concentration-dependent manner. MDAP3000 pretreated with MMP-2 showed higher accumulation in tumor cells, and was completely blocked by additional treatment with an MMP inhibitor. MDAP3000 exhibited rapid blood clearance and a high tumor accumulation after intravenous injection in a rodent model. Furthermore, pharmacokinetic analysis revealed that MDAP3000 exhibited a considerably slow washout rate from tumors to blood. A certain fraction of cleaved MDAP3000 existed in tumor xenografts in vivo.
The results indicate the possible usefulness of our MDAP strategy for tumor imaging.
PMCID: PMC4092090  PMID: 25010662
2.  Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 Regulation through Cross Talk between mTOR and MT1-MMP 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(1):30-42.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) plays a key role in the cellular adaptation to hypoxia. Although HIF-1 is usually strongly suppressed by posttranslational mechanisms during normoxia, HIF-1 is active and enhances tumorigenicity in malignant tumor cells that express the membrane protease MT1-MMP. The cytoplasmic tail of MT1-MMP, which can bind a HIF-1 suppressor protein called factor inhibiting HIF-1 (FIH-1), promotes inhibition of FIH-1 by Mint3 during normoxia. To explore possible links between HIF-1 activation by MT1-MMP/Mint3 and tumor growth signals, we surveyed a panel of 252 signaling inhibitors. The mTOR inhibitor rapamycin was identified as a possible modulator, and it inhibited the mTOR-dependent phosphorylation of Mint3 that is required for FIH-1 inhibition. A mutant Mint3 protein that cannot be phosphorylated exhibited a reduced ability to inhibit FIH-1 and promoted tumor formation in mice. These data suggest a novel molecular link between the important hub proteins MT1-MMP and mTOR that contributes to tumor malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3911284  PMID: 24164895
3.  MT1-MMP-Dependent Control of Skeletal Stem Cell Commitment via a β1-Integrin/YAP/TAZ Signaling Axis 
Developmental cell  2013;25(4):402-416.
In vitro, topographical and biophysical cues arising from the extracellular matrix (ECM) direct skeletal stem cell (SSC) commitment and differentiation. However, the mechanisms by which the SSC-ECM interface is regulated and the outcome of such interactions on stem cell fate in vivo remain unknown. Here we demonstrate that conditional deletion of the membrane-anchored metalloproteinase MT1-MMP (Mmp14) in mesenchymal progenitors, but not in committed osteoblasts, redirects SSC fate decisions from osteogenesis to adipo- and chondrogenesis. By effecting ECM remodeling, MT1-MMP regulates stem cell shape, thereby activating a β1-integrin/RhoGTPase signaling cascade and triggering the nuclear localization of the transcriptional coactivators YAP and TAZ, which serve to control SSC lineage commitment. These data identify a critical MT1-MMP/integrin/YAP/TAZ axis operative in the stem cell niche that oversees SSC fate determination.
PMCID: PMC3736823  PMID: 23685250
4.  Correction: Critical Role of Transient Activity of MT1-MMP for ECM Degradation in Invadopodia 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(6):10.1371/annotation/b41ed85a-11d1-483a-a7ac-9d06f0c8669a.
PMCID: PMC3681987
5.  Critical Role of Transient Activity of MT1-MMP for ECM Degradation in Invadopodia 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(5):e1003086.
Focal degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) is the first step in the invasion of cancer cells. MT1-MMP is a potent membrane proteinase employed by aggressive cancer cells. In our previous study, we reported that MT1-MMP was preferentially located at membrane protrusions called invadopodia, where MT1-MMP underwent quick turnover. Our computer simulation and experiments showed that this quick turnover was essential for the degradation of ECM at invadopodia (Hoshino, D., et al., (2012) PLoS Comp. Biol., 8: e1002479). Here we report on characterization and analysis of the ECM-degrading activity of MT1-MMP, aiming at elucidating a possible reason for its repetitive insertion in the ECM degradation. First, in our computational model, we found a very narrow transient peak in the activity of MT1-MMP followed by steady state activity. This transient activity was due to the inhibition by TIMP-2, and the steady state activity of MT1-MMP decreased dramatically at higher TIMP-2 concentrations. Second, we evaluated the role of the narrow transient activity in the ECM degradation. When the transient activity was forcibly suppressed in computer simulations, the ECM degradation was heavily suppressed, indicating the essential role of this transient peak in the ECM degradation. Third, we compared continuous and pulsatile turnover of MT1-MMP in the ECM degradation at invadopodia. The pulsatile insertion showed basically consistent results with the continuous insertion in the ECM degradation, and the ECM degrading efficacy depended heavily on the transient activity of MT1-MMP in both models. Unexpectedly, however, low-frequency/high-concentration insertion of MT1-MMP was more effective in ECM degradation than high-frequency/low-concentration pulsatile insertion even if the time-averaged amount of inserted MT1-MMP was the same. The present analysis and characterization of ECM degradation by MT1-MMP together with our previous report indicate a dynamic nature of MT1-MMP at invadopodia and the importance of its transient peak in the degradation of the ECM.
Author Summary
Metastasis is the major cause of death in cancer patients. If metastasis is blocked, the survival rate will be greatly increased. Cancer cells are surrounded by ECM (extracellular matrix), which prevents their free movement. MT1-MMP is a potent membrane proteinase that degrades ECM, which is the first step of cancer cell invasion. Thus, the control of MT1-MMP activity is a key to the prevention of metastasis. Here we found a sharp transient peak in the ECM-degrading activity of MT1-MMP by computer simulations, and computational elimination of this peak greatly prolonged the ECM degradation. MT1-MMP is transported intracellularly to the surface of the membrane of cancer cells, and its insertion into the membrane is thought to occur in a pulsatile manner. Therefore, we asked whether the ECM-degrading efficacy was the same in low-frequency/high-concentration and high-frequency/low-concentration insertions of MT1-MMP. Unexpectedly, the low-frequency/high-concentration regimen resulted in much faster ECM degradation even if the time-averaged amount of MT1-MMP insertion was the same. Thus, reduction of the sharp transient activity and vesicular content of MT1-MMP are important therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC3667784  PMID: 23737743
6.  Network Analysis of the Focal Adhesion to Invadopodia Transition Identifies a PI3K-PKCα Invasive Signaling Axis 
Science signaling  2012;5(241):ra66.
A central and unresolved question in cancer is how deregulated signaling leads to acquisition of an invasive cellular phenotype. Here, we modeled the invasive transition as a theoretical switch between focal adhesions and extracellular matrix (ECM)-degrading invadopodia and built molecular interaction network models of each structure. To identify upstream regulatory hubs, we added first degree binding partners and applied graph theoretic analyses. Comparison of the results to clustered reverse phase protein array signaling data from head and neck carcinomas led us to choose phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and protein kinase C alpha (PKCα) for further analysis. Consistent with a previous report, PI3K activity promoted both the formation and activity of invadopodia. Furthermore, PI3K induction of invadopodia was increased by overexpression of SH2 domain-containing inositol 5′-phosphatase 2 (SHIP2), suggesting that a major part of the mechanism is synthesis of PI(3,4,5)P3, a precursor for PI(3,4)P2, which promotes invadopodia formation. Knockdown of PKCα led to divergent effects on invadopodia formation, depending on the activation state of PI3K. Loss of PKCα inhibited invadopodia formation in cells with wild-type PI3K pathway status. Conversely, in cells with either activating PI3K mutants or lacking the endogenous opposing enzyme phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), PKCα knockdown increased invadopodia formation. Investigation of the mechanism revealed that a negative feedback loop from PKCα dampened PI3K activity and invasive behavior in cells with genetic overactivation of the PI3K pathway. These studies demonstrate the potential of network modeling as a discovery tool and identify PI3K and PKCα as critical interacting regulators of invasive behavior.
PMCID: PMC3583194  PMID: 22969158
7.  The Phosphoinositide-Binding Protein ZF21 Regulates ECM Degradation by Invadopodia 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e50825.
During the process of tumor invasion, cells require footholds on extracellular matrices (ECM) that are created by forming focal adhesions (FAs) using integrins. On the other hand, cells must degrade the ECM barrier using extracellular proteases including MMPs in the direction of cell movement. Degradation occurs at the leading edges or invadopodia of cells, which are enriched in proteases and adhesion molecules. Recently, we showed that the phosphoinositide-binding protein ZF21 regulates FA disassembly. ZF21 increased cell migration by promoting the turnover of FAs. In addition, ZF21 promotes experimental tumor metastasis to lung in mice and its depletion suppresses it. However, it is not known whether ZF21 regulates cancer cell invasion in addition to its activity on FAs. In this study, we demonstrate that ZF21 also regulates invasion of tumor cells, whereas it does not affect the overall production of MMP-2, MMP-9, and MT1-MMP by the cells. Also, we observe that the ECM-degrading activity specifically at the invadopodia is severely abrogated. In the ZF21 depleted cells MT1-MMP cannot accumulate to the invadopodia and thereby cannot contribute to the ECM degradation. Thus, this study demonstrates that ZF21 is a key player regulating multiple aspects of cancer cell migration and invasion. Possible mechanisms regulating ECM degradation at the invadopodia are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3561396  PMID: 23382803
8.  Detection of the Heterogeneous O-Glycosylation Profile of MT1-MMP Expressed in Cancer Cells by a Simple MALDI-MS Method 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43751.
Glycosylation is an important and universal post-translational modification for many proteins, and regulates protein functions. However, simple and rapid methods to analyze glycans on individual proteins have not been available until recently.
Methods/Principal Findings
A new technique to analyze glycopeptides in a highly sensitive manner by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) using the liquid matrix 3AQ/CHCA was developed recently and we optimized this technique to analyze a small amount of transmembrane protein separated by SDS-PAGE. We used the MALDI-MS method to evaluate glycosylation status of membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP). O-glycosylation of MT1-MMP is reported to modulate its protease activity and thereby to affect cancer cell invasion. MT1-MMP expressed in human fibrosarcoma HT1080 cells was immunoprecipitated and resolved by SDS-PAGE. After in-gel tryptic digestion of the protein, a single droplet of the digest was applied directly to the liquid matrix on a MALDI target plate. Concentration of hydrophilic glycopeptides within the central area occurred due to gradual evaporation of the sample solution, whereas nonglycosylated hydrophobic peptides remained at the periphery. This specific separation and concentration of the glycopeptides enabled comprehensive analysis of the MT1-MMP O-glycosylation.
We demonstrate, for the first time, heterogeneous O-glycosylation profile of a protein by a whole protein analysis using MALDI-MS. Since cancer cells are reported to have altered glycosylation of proteins, this easy-to-use method for glycopeptide analysis opens up the possibility to identify specific glycosylation patterns of proteins that can be used as new biomarkers for malignant tumors.
PMCID: PMC3425508  PMID: 22928028
9.  Control and inhibition analysis of complex formation processes 
Proteolytic degradation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) is a key event in tumour metastasis and invasion. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of endopeptidases that degrade most of the components of the ECM. Several broad-spectrum MMP inhibitors (MMPIs) have been developed, but have had little success due to side effects. Thus, it is important to develop mathematical methods to provide new drug treatment strategies. Matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) activation occurs via a mechanism involving complex formation that consists of membrane type 1 MMP (MT1-MMP), tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 2 (TIMP2) and MMP2. Here, we focus on developing a method for analysing the complex formation process.
We used control analysis to investigate inhibitor responses in complex formation processes. The essence of the analysis is to define the response coefficient which measures the inhibitory efficiency, a small fractional change of concentration of a targeting molecule in response to a small fractional change of concentration of an inhibitor. First, by using the response coefficient, we investigated models for general classes of complex formation processes: chain reaction systems composed of ordered steps, and chain reaction systems and site-binding reaction systems composed of unordered multi-branched steps. By analysing the ordered step models, we showed that parameter-independent inequalities between the response coefficients held. For the unordered multi-branched step models, we showed that independence of the response coefficients with respect to equilibrium constants held. As an application of our analysis, we discuss a mathematical model for the MMP2 activation process. By putting the experimentally derived parameter values into the model, we were able to conclude that the TIMP2 and MMP2 interaction is the most efficient interaction to consider in selecting inhibitors.
Our result identifies a new drug target in the process of the MMP2 activation. Thus, our analysis will provide new insight into the design of more efficient drug strategies for cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3512525  PMID: 22863329
Control analysis; Complex formation; Biochemical reaction kinetics; Proteinase inhibitors; Cancer invasion; Matrix metalloproteinases
10.  Genetic Screening of New Genes Responsible for Cellular Adaptation to Hypoxia Using a Genome-Wide shRNA Library 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35590.
Oxygen is a vital requirement for multi-cellular organisms to generate energy and cells have developed multiple compensatory mechanisms to adapt to stressful hypoxic conditions. Such adaptive mechanisms are intricately interconnected with other signaling pathways that regulate cellular functions such as cell growth. However, our understanding of the overall system governing the cellular response to the availability of oxygen remains limited. To identify new genes involved in the response to hypoxic stress, we have performed a genome-wide gene knockdown analysis in human lung carcinoma PC8 cells using an shRNA library carried by a lentiviral vector. The knockdown analysis was performed under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions to identify shRNA sequences enriched or lost in the resulting selected cell populations. Consequently, we identified 56 candidate genes that might contribute to the cellular response to hypoxia. Subsequent individual knockdown of each gene demonstrated that 13 of these have a significant effect upon oxygen-sensitive cell growth. The identification of BCL2L1, which encodes a Bcl-2 family protein that plays a role in cell survival by preventing apoptosis, validates the successful design of our screen. The other selected genes have not previously been directly implicated in the cellular response to hypoxia. Interestingly, hypoxia did not directly enhance the expression of any of the identified genes, suggesting that we have identified a new class of genes that have been missed by conventional gene expression analyses to identify hypoxia response genes. Thus, our genetic screening method using a genome-wide shRNA library and the newly-identified genes represent useful tools to analyze the cellular systems that respond to hypoxic stress.
PMCID: PMC3327663  PMID: 22523603
11.  Establishment and Validation of Computational Model for MT1-MMP Dependent ECM Degradation and Intervention Strategies 
PLoS Computational Biology  2012;8(4):e1002479.
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.
Author Summary
Prevention of invasion is important in cancer therapy. MT1-MMP is a membrane protein involved in degradation of ECM (extracellular matrix) that is highly expressed at invadopodia, which are small protrusions of cancer cells. ECM degradation by MT1-MMP at invadopodia is hypothesized as the initial step of cancer cell invasion. However, MT1-MMP is inhibited by the endogenous inhibitor TIMP-2, so continuous turnover of MT1-MMP at the surface of invadopodia would be required. In agreement, it has been reported that the blockade of vesicle transport, which is one mechanism involved in the turnover, blocked the ECM degradation. However, the turnover rate of MT1-MMP at invadopodia and the extent to which the turnover is critical for the degradation of ECM have not been clarified. In this report we measured the turnover rate of MT1-MMP at a single invadopodium and found rapid turnover rates with time constants of 26 s and 259 s, which primarily depended on the vesicle transport. A computational model was constructed based on the observed kinetics. If we blocked the rapid turnover, the ECM degradation was blocked both experimentally and in simulations. These results established the role of the rapid turnover of MT1-MMP in the ECM degradation at invadopodia.
PMCID: PMC3325185  PMID: 22511862
12.  Cell Adhesion in Cancer 
PMCID: PMC3319991  PMID: 22536252
13.  Turnover of Focal Adhesions and Cancer Cell Migration 
Cells are usually surrounded by the extracellular matrix (ECM), and adhesion of the cells to the ECM is a key step in their migration through tissues. Integrins are important receptors for the ECM and form structures called focal adhesions (FAs). Formation and disassembly of FAs are regulated dynamically during cell migration. Adhesion to the ECM has been studied mainly using cells cultured on an ECM-coated substratum, where the rate of cell migration is determined by the turnover of FAs. However, the molecular events underlying the disassembly of FAs are less well understood. We have recently identified both a new regulator of this disassembly process and its interaction partners. Here, we summarize our understanding of FA disassembly by focusing on the proteins implicated in this process.
PMCID: PMC3272802  PMID: 22319531
14.  ZF21 is a new regulator of focal adhesion disassembly and a potential member of the spreading initiation center 
Cell Adhesion & Migration  2011;5(1):23-28.
Adherent cells migrate on extracellular -matrices (ECM) by repeated spreading and contraction of the cell body. Focal adhesions (FAs) play a major role in the adherence of cells to the ECM and in the generation of the cellular forces that maintain morphology and allow cells to move. FAs also mediate bidirectional transmembrane signals in conjunction with growth factor receptors and signaling molecules. Although the mechanisms that regulate cell migration are not yet fully understood, the regulation of the formation and turnover of FAs is a key factor determining the rate and direction of cell migration. We recently identified a component of FAs termed ZF21, which is a member of a family of proteins characterized by the presence of a conserved phosphoinositide-binding motif. ZF21 promotes dephosphorylation of FAK at Tyr397 upon microtubule extension to FAs and thereby regulates the disassembly of FAs in a microtubules-dependent manner. To obtain further insight into the regulation of cell adhesion by ZF21, we analyzed proteins associated with ZF21 by proteomic analysis. We identified 45 proteins including FA-related proteins and multiple RNA binding proteins that have been shown recently to be components of the spreading initiation center (SIC). SICs are cell adherent structures that can be observed only in the early stages of cell spreading and have been implicated in regulating the rate of cell spreading. In this article, we report new ZF21-binding proteins identified by proteomic analysis and discuss the potential functions of ZF21 in regulating disassembly of FAs.
PMCID: PMC3038092  PMID: 20890123
cell adhesion; cell spreading; focal adhesion; spreading initiation center; LC/MS
15.  MT1-MMP-mediated basement membrane remodeling modulates renal development 
Experimental cell research  2010;316(17):2993-3005.
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.
PMCID: PMC2945451  PMID: 20727881
branching morphogenesis; basement membrane; matrix metalloproteinases; kidney
16.  Membrane-Type 4 Matrix Metalloproteinase (MT4-MMP) Modulates Water Homeostasis in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e17099.
MT4-MMP is a membrane-type metalloproteinase (MMP) anchored to the membrane by a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI) motif. GPI-type MT-MMPs (MT4- and MT6-MMP) are related to other MT-MMPs, but their physiological substrates and functions in vivo have yet to be identified. In this manuscript we show that MT4-MMP is expressed early in kidney development, as well as in the adult kidney, where the highest levels of expression are found in the papilla. MT4-MMP null mice had minimal renal developmental abnormalities, with a minor branching morphogenesis defect in early embryonic kidney development and slightly dysmorphic collecting ducts in adult mice. Interestingly, MT4-MMP null mice had higher baseline urine osmolarities relative to wild type controls, but these animals were able to concentrate and dilute their urines normally. However, MT4-MMP-null mice had decreased daily water intake and daily urine output, consistent with primary hypodipsia. MT4-MMP was shown to be expressed in areas of the hypothalamus considered important for regulating thirst. Thus, our results show that although MT4-MMP is expressed in the kidney, this metalloproteinase does not play a major role in renal development or function; however it does appear to modify the neural stimuli that modulate thirst.
PMCID: PMC3037967  PMID: 21347258
17.  MT1-MMP is a crucial promotor of synovial invasion in human rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(3):686.
A hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is invasion of the synovial pannus into cartilage and this step requires degradation of the collagen matrix. The aim of this study was to explore the role of one of the collagen-degrading matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), membrane-type 1 MMP (MT1-MMP), in synovial pannus invasiveness.
Expression and localization of MT1-MMP in human RA pannus were investigated by Western blot analysis of primary synovial cells and immunohistochemistry of RA joints specimens. The functional role of MT1-MMP was analyzed by 3D collagen invasion assays and a cartilage invasion assay in the presence or absence of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, TIMP-2, or GM6001. The effect of adenoviral expression of a dominant negative MT1-MMP construct lacking a catalytic domain was also examined.
MT1-MMP was highly expressed at the pannus-cartilage junction of RA joints. Freshly isolated rheumatoid synovial tissues and isolated RA synovial fibroblasts invaded into a 3D collagen matrix in an MT1-MMP-dependent manner. Invasion was blocked by TIMP-2 and GM6001, but not by TIMP-1. It was also inhibited by the over-expression of a dominant negative MT1-MMP which inhibits collagenolytic activity and proMMP-2 activation by MT1-MMP on the cell surface. Synovial fibroblasts also invaded into cartilage in an MT1-MMP-dependent manner. This process was further enhanced by removing aggrecan from the cartilage matrix.
MT1-MMP is an essential collagen-degrading proteinase during pannus invasion in human RA. Specific inhibition of MT1-MMP-dependent invasion may form a novel therapeutic strategy for RA.
PMCID: PMC2819053  PMID: 19248098
MT1-MMP; synovial pannus; rheumatoid arthritis
18.  Spontaneous transformation of human granulosa cell tumours into an aggressive phenotype: a metastasis model cell line 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:319.
Granulosa cell tumours (GCTs) are frequently seen in menopausal women and are relatively indolent. Although the physiological properties of normal granulosa cells have been studied extensively, little is known about the molecular mechanism of GCT progression. Here, we characterise the unique behavioural properties of a granulosa tumour cell line, KGN cells, for the molecular analysis of GCT progression.
Population doubling was carried out to examine the proliferation capacity of KGN cells. Moreover, the invasive capacity of these cells was determined using the in vitro invasion assay. The expression level of tumour markers in KGN cells at different passages was then determined by Western blot analysis. Finally, the growth and metastasis of KGN cells injected subcutaneously (s.c.) into nude mice was observed 3 months after injection.
During in vitro culture, the advanced passage KGN cells grew 2-fold faster than the early passage cells, as determined by the population doubling assay. Moreover, we found that the advanced passage cells were 2-fold more invasive than the early passage cells. The expression pattern of tumour markers, such as p53, osteopontin, BAX and BAG-1, supported the notion that with passage, KGN cells became more aggressive. Strikingly, KGN cells at both early and advanced passages metastasized to the bowel when injected s.c. into nude mice. In addition, more tumour nodules were formed when the advanced passage cells were implanted.
KGN cells cultured in vitro acquire an aggressive phenotype, which was confirmed by the analysis of cellular activities and the expression of biomarkers. Interestingly, KGN cells injected s.c. are metastatic with nodule formation occurring mostly in the bowel. Thus, this cell line is a good model for analysing GCT progression and the mechanism of metastasis in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2584659  PMID: 18980698
19.  Cell Surface Collagenolysis Requires Homodimerization of the Membrane-bound Collagenase MT1-MMP 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2006;17(12):5390-5399.
Pericellular degradation of interstitial collagens is a crucial event for cells to migrate through the dense connective tissue matrices, where collagens exist as insoluble fibers. A key proteinase that participates in this process is considered to be membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP or MMP-14), but little is known about the mechanism by which it cleaves the insoluble collagen. Here we report that homodimerization of MT1-MMP through its hemopexin (Hpx) domain is essential for cleaving type I collagen fibers at the cell surface. When dimerization was blocked by coexpressing either a membrane-bound or a soluble form of the Hpx domain, cell surface collagenolytic activity was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner. When MMP-13, a soluble collagenase active as a monomer in solution, was expressed as a membrane-anchored form on the cell surface, homodimerization was also required to cleave collagen. Our results introduce a new concept in that pericellular collagenolysis is regulated by correct molecular assembly of the membrane-anchored collagenase, thereby governing the directionality of the cell to migrate in tissue.
PMCID: PMC1679699  PMID: 17050733
20.  Cytoplasmic tail–dependent internalization of membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase is important for its invasion-promoting activity 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;155(7):1345-1356.
Membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) is an integral membrane proteinase that degrades the pericellular extracellular matrix (ECM) and is expressed in many migratory cells, including invasive cancer cells. MT1-MMP has been shown to localize at the migration edge and to promote cell migration; however, it is not clear how the enzyme is regulated during the migration process. Here, we report that MT1-MMP is internalized from the surface and that this event depends on the sequence of its cytoplasmic tail. Di-leucine (Leu571–572 and Leu578–579) and tyrosine573 residues are important for the internalization, and the μ2 subunit of adaptor protein 2, a component of clathrin-coated pits for membrane protein internalization, was found to bind to the LLY573 sequence. MT1-MMP was internalized predominantly at the adherent edge and was found to colocalize with clathrin-coated vesicles. The mutations that disturb internalization caused accumulation of the enzyme at the adherent edge, though the net proteolytic activity was not affected much. Interestingly, whereas expression of MT1-MMP enhances cell migration and invasion, the internalization-defective mutants failed to promote either activity. These data indicate that dynamic turnover of MT1-MMP at the migration edge by internalization is important for proper enzyme function during cell migration and invasion.
PMCID: PMC2199326  PMID: 11756481
MT-MMP; metalloproteinase; internalization; invasion; migration
21.  Membrane-Type 1 Matrix Metalloproteinase Cleaves Cd44 and Promotes Cell Migration 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;153(5):893-904.
Migratory cells including invasive tumor cells frequently express CD44, a major receptor for hyaluronan and membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) that degrades extracellular matrix at the pericellular region. In this study, we demonstrate that MT1-MMP acts as a processing enzyme for CD44H, releasing it into the medium as a soluble 70-kD fragment. Furthermore, this processing event stimulates cell motility; however, expression of either CD44H or MT1-MMP alone did not stimulate cell motility. Coexpression of MT1-MMP and mutant CD44H lacking the MT1-MMP–processing site did not result in shedding and did not promote cell migration, suggesting that the processing of CD44H by MT1-MMP is critical in the migratory stimulation. Moreover, expression of the mutant CD44H inhibited the cell migration promoted by CD44H and MT1-MMP in a dominant-negative manner. The pancreatic tumor cell line, MIA PaCa-2, was found to shed the 70-kD CD44H fragment in a MT1-MMP–dependent manner. Expression of the mutant CD44H in the cells as well as MMP inhibitor treatment effectively inhibited the migration, suggesting that MIA PaCa-2 cells indeed use the CD44H and MT1-MMP as migratory devices. These findings revealed a novel interaction of the two molecules that have each been implicated in tumor cell migration and invasion.
PMCID: PMC2174329  PMID: 11381077
MT-MMP; metalloproteinase; motility; CD44; invasion and metastasis

Results 1-21 (21)