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1.  Differential Actions of the Endocytic Collagen Receptor uPARAP/Endo180 and the Collagenase MMP-2 in Bone Homeostasis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71261.
A well-coordinated remodeling of uncalcified collagen matrices is a pre-requisite for bone development and homeostasis. Collagen turnover proceeds through different pathways, either involving extracellular reactions exclusively, or being dependent on endocytic processes. Extracellular collagen degradation requires the action of secreted or membrane attached collagenolytic proteases, whereas the alternative collagen degradation pathway proceeds intracellularly after receptor-mediated uptake and delivery to the lysosomes. In this study we have examined the functional interplay between the extracellular collagenase, MMP-2, and the endocytic collagen receptor, uPARAP, by generating mice with combined deficiency of both components. In both uPARAP-deficient and MMP-2-deficient adult mice the length of the tibia and femur was decreased, along with a reduced bone mineral density and trabecular bone quality. An additional decrease in bone length was observed when combining the two deficiencies, pointing to both components being important for the remodeling processes in long bone growth. In agreement with results found by others, a different effect of MMP-2 deficiency was observed in the distinct bone structures of the calvaria. These membranous bones were found to be thickened in MMP-2-deficient mice, an effect likely to be related to an accompanying defect in the canalicular system. Surprisingly, both of the latter defects in MMP-2-deficient mice were counteracted by concurrent uPARAP deficiency, demonstrating that the collagen receptor does not support the same matrix remodeling processes as the MMP in the growth of the skull. We conclude that both uPARAP and MMP-2 take part in matrix turnover processes important for bone growth. However, in some physiological situations, these two components do not support the same step in the growth process.
PMCID: PMC3734290  PMID: 23940733
2.  Inhibitory Monoclonal Antibodies against Mouse Proteases Raised in Gene-Deficient Mice Block Proteolytic Functions in vivo 
Identification of targets for cancer therapy requires the understanding of the in vivo roles of proteins, which can be derived from studies using gene-targeted mice. An alternative strategy is the administration of inhibitory monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), causing acute disruption of the target protein function(s). This approach has the advantage of being a model for therapeutic targeting. mAbs for use in mouse models can be obtained through immunization of gene-deficient mice with the autologous protein. Such mAbs react with both species-specific epitopes and epitopes conserved between species. mAbs against proteins involved in extracellular proteolysis, including plasminogen activators urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA), their inhibitor PAI-1, the uPA receptor (uPAR), two matrix metalloproteinases (MMP9 and MMP14), as well as the collagen internalization receptor uPARAP, have been developed. The inhibitory mAbs against uPA and uPAR block plasminogen activation and thereby hepatic fibrinolysis in vivo. Wound healing, another plasmin-dependent process, is delayed by an inhibitory mAb against uPA in the adult mouse. Thromboembolism can be inhibited by anti-PAI-1 mAbs in vivo. In conclusion, function-blocking mAbs are well-suited for targeted therapy in mouse models of different diseases, including cancer.
PMCID: PMC3384954  PMID: 22754528
mouse monoclonal antibodies; extracellular proteolysis; collagen internalization; in vivo models; plasminogen activation
3.  Mesenchymal cells reactivate Snail1 expression to drive three-dimensional invasion programs 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;184(3):399-408.
Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is required for mesodermal differentiation during development. The zinc-finger transcription factor, Snail1, can trigger EMT and is sufficient to transcriptionally reprogram epithelial cells toward a mesenchymal phenotype during neoplasia and fibrosis. Whether Snail1 also regulates the behavior of terminally differentiated mesenchymal cells remains unexplored. Using a Snai1 conditional knockout model, we now identify Snail1 as a regulator of normal mesenchymal cell function. Snail1 expression in normal fibroblasts can be induced by agonists known to promote proliferation and invasion in vivo. When challenged within a tissue-like, three-dimensional extracellular matrix, Snail1-deficient fibroblasts exhibit global alterations in gene expression, which include defects in membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP)-dependent invasive activity. Snail1-deficient fibroblasts explanted atop the live chick chorioallantoic membrane lack tissue-invasive potential and fail to induce angiogenesis. These findings establish key functions for the EMT regulator Snail1 after terminal differentiation of mesenchymal cells.
PMCID: PMC2646556  PMID: 19188491

Results 1-3 (3)