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1.  The Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Is Proteolytically Modified by the Matriptase-Prostasin Serine Protease Cascade in Cultured Epithelial Cells 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2007;1783(5):896-903.
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.
PMCID: PMC3214967  PMID: 18054338
ErbB Receptor Tyrosine Kinases; GPI-anchor; Transmembrane Glycoprotein; Extracellular Signal-regulated Kinases; MT-SP1; PRSS8
2.  Prostasin induces protease-dependent and independent molecular changes in the human prostate carcinoma cell line PC-3 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2007;1773(7):1133-1140.
Expression of prostasin in the PC-3 human prostate carcinoma cells inhibited in vitro invasion, but the molecular mechanisms are unknown. Wild-type human prostasin or a serine active-site mutant prostasin was expressed in the PC-3 cells. Molecular changes were measured at the mRNA and the protein levels. Cell signaling changes were evaluated by measuring phosphorylation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases (Erk1/2) following epidermal growth factor (EGF) treatment of the cells. Protein expression of the EGF receptor (EGFR) was differentially down-regulated by the wild-type and the active-site mutant prostasin. The mRNA expression of EGFR and the transcription repressor SLUG was reduced in cells expressing wild-type prostasin but not the active-site mutant. Phosphorylation of Erk1/2 in response to EGF was greatly reduced by the wild-type prostasin but not by the active-site mutant. The mRNA expression of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), the uPA receptor (uPAR), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) was decreased by the wild-type and the active-site mutant prostasin. The mRNA or protein expression of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), matriptase, and E-cadherin was greatly increased by the active-site mutant prostasin. In conclusion, prostasin expression elicits both protease-dependent and independent molecular changes in the PC-3 cells.
PMCID: PMC1950849  PMID: 17532063
Serine Protease; Matriptase; Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor; Prostate Cancer
3.  Intravesical ALT-803 and BCG Treatment Reduces Tumor Burden in a Carcinogen Induced Bladder Cancer Rat Model; a Role for Cytokine Production and NK Cell Expansion 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e96705.
Intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has been shown to induce a specific immunologic response (i.e., activation of IL-2 and effector T-cells), while preclinical studies using ALT-803 (mutated IL-15 analogue combined with IL-15Rα-Fc fusion) have shown promising results by prolonging the agent's half-life and stimulating CD8+ T-cells. Based on these results, we hypothesized that the intravesical administration of ALT-803 along with BCG will generate an immunologic response leading to significant bladder tumor burden reduction. Using a well-established carcinogen induced rat non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) model, we studied the effects of intravesical ALT-803 with and without BCG. Rat tissues were evaluated to document treatment response. Intravesical ALT-803 was safe and well tolerated alone and in combination with BCG. As a single treatment agent, ALT-803 reduced tumor burden by 35% compared to control whereas BCG alone only reduced tumor burden by 15%. However, the combination of ALT-803 plus BCG reduced tumor burden by 46% compared to control. Immune monitoring suggested that the antitumor response was linked to the production and secretion of IL-1α, IL-1β and RANTES, which in turn, induced the proliferation and activation of NK cells. Lastly, tumoral responses of the combinational treatment were associated with 76% reduction in angiogenesis, which is significantly higher than when assessed with either agent alone. The enhanced therapeutic index seen with this duplet provides justification for the development of this regimen for future clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC4045574  PMID: 24896845
4.  Long-Term Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Extract Induces Hypomethylation at the RUNX3 and IGF2-H19 Loci in Immortalized Human Urothelial Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e65513.
Cigarette smoking is the single most important epidemiological risk factor for bladder cancer but it is not known whether exposure of urothelial cells to the systemic soluble contents of cigarette smoke is directly causative to bladder cancer and the associated epigenetic changes such as tumor suppressor gene hypermethylation. We undertook this study to investigate if long-term treatment of human urothelial cells with cigarette smoke extract (CSE) results in tumor suppressor gene hypermethylation, a phenotype that was previously associated with long-term constant CSE treatment of airway epithelial cells. We chronically treated an immortalized human urothelial cell line UROtsa with CSE using a cyclic daily regimen but the cells were cultured in CSE-free medium between daily treatments. Bisulfite sequencing and real-time PCR array-based methylation profiling were employed to evaluate methylation changes at tumor suppressor gene loci in the chronically CSE-treated cells versus the passage-matched untreated control cells. The RUNX3 tumor suppressor gene promoter was hypomethylated with a significant increase in proportion of the completely unmethylated haplotype after the long-term CSE treatment; whereas RUNX3 promoter hypermethylation was previously reported for bladder cancers of smokers. Hypomethylation induced by the long-term CSE treatment was also observed for the IGF2-H19 locus. The methylation status at the PRSS8/prostasin and 16 additional loci however, was unaffected by the chronic CSE treatment. Transient CSE treatment over 1 daily regimen resulted in transcriptional down-regulation of RUNX3 and H19, but only the H19 transcription was down-regulated in the chronically CSE-treated urothelial cells. Transcription of a key enzyme in one-carbon metabolism, dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) was greatly reduced by the long-term CSE treatment, potentially serving as a mechanism for the hypomethylation phenotype via a reduced supply of methyl donor. In conclusion, chronic cyclic CSE treatment of urothelial cells induced hypomethylation rather than hypermethylation at specific loci.
PMCID: PMC3665628  PMID: 23724145
5.  Targeting zymogen activation to control the matriptase-prostasin proteolytic cascade 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(21):7567-7578.
Membrane-associated serine protease matriptase has been implicated in human diseases, and might be a drug target. In the present study, a novel class of matriptase inhibitors targeting zymogen activation is developed by a combination of the screening of compound library using a cell-based matriptase activation assay and a computer-aided search of commercially available analogs of a selected compound. Four structurally related compounds are identified that can inhibit matriptase activation with IC50 at low μM in both intact-cell and cell-free systems, suggesting that these inhibitors target the matriptase autoactivation machinery rather than the intracellular signaling pathways. These activation inhibitors can also inhibit prostasin activation, a downstream event that occurs in lockstep with matriptase activation. In contrast, the matriptase catalytic inhibitor CVS-3983 at a concentration 300-fold higher than its Ki fails to inhibit activation of either protease. Our results suggest that inhibiting matriptase activation is an efficient way to control matriptase function.
PMCID: PMC3214968  PMID: 21966950
6.  Proteasome Inhibition Augments Cigarette Smoke-Induced GM-CSF Expression in Trophoblast Cells via the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43042.
Maternal cigarette smoking has adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes. The granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is an essential cytokine for a normal pregnancy. We investigated the impact of cigarette smoke extract (CSE) on GM-CSF expression in human cytotrophoblast cells and suggested a cellular mechanism underlying the CSE-induced GM-CSF expression. An immortalized normal human trophoblast cell line (B6Tert-1) was treated with CSE. The viability and proliferation of the CSE-treated B6Tert-1 cells were evaluated, and the expression of GM-CSF in these cells was quantified at the mRNA and the protein levels by means of reverse-transcription and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR); and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. Human trophoblast cells treated with CSE had an increased expression of GM-CSF at both the mRNA and the protein levels. The CSE-induced GM-CSF expression was synergistically enhanced by the addition of the proteasome inhibitor MG-132, but inhibited by AG-1478, an inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase. Furthermore, CSE treatment increased the phosphorylation of the extracellular-signal regulated kinases (ERK1/2) in the trophoblast cells. The expression of other growth factors such as heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was also evaluated. Our data suggested that cigarette smoking and proteasome inhibition synergistically up-regulate GM-CSF cytokine expression by activating the EGFR signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3422336  PMID: 22912784
7.  HIV-1 Enhancing Effect of Prostatic Acid Phosphatase Peptides Is Reduced in Human Seminal Plasma 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16285.
We recently reported that HIV-1 infection can be inhibited by innate antimicrobial components of human seminal plasma (SP). Conversely, naturally occurring peptidic fragments from the SP-derived prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) have been reported to form amyloid fibrils called “SEVI” and enhance HIV-1 infection in vitro. In order to understand the biological consequence of this proviral effect, we extended these studies in the presence of human SP. PAP-derived peptides were agitated to form SEVI and incubated in the presence or absence of SP. While PAP-derived peptides and SEVI alone were proviral, the presence of 1% SP ablated their proviral activity in several different anti-HIV-1 assays. The anti-HIV-1 activity of SP was concentration dependent and was reduced following filtration. Supraphysiological concentrations of PAP peptides and SEVI incubated with diluted SP were degraded within hours, with SP exhibiting proteolytic activity at dilutions as high as 1∶200. Sub-physiological concentrations of two prominent proteases of SP, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and matriptase, could degrade physiological and supraphysiological concentrations of PAP peptides and SEVI. While human SP is a complex biological fluid, containing both antiviral and proviral factors, our results suggest that PAP peptides and SEVI may be subject to naturally occurring proteolytic components capable of reducing their proviral activity.
PMCID: PMC3024420  PMID: 21283773
8.  Loss of prostasin (PRSS8) in human bladder transitional cell carcinoma cell lines is associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:377.
The glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored epithelial extracellular membrane serine protease prostasin (PRSS8) is expressed abundantly in normal epithelia and essential for terminal epithelial differentiation, but down-regulated in human prostate, breast, and gastric cancers and invasive cancer cell lines. Prostasin is involved in the extracellular proteolytic modulation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and is an invasion suppressor. The aim of this study was to evaluate prostasin expression states in the transitional cell carcinomas (TCC) of the human bladder and in human TCC cell lines.
Normal human bladder tissues and TCC on a bladder cancer tissue microarray (TMA) were evaluated for prostasin expression by means of immunohistochemistry. A panel of 16 urothelial and TCC cell lines were evaluated for prostasin and E-cadherin expression by western blot and quantitative PCR, and for prostasin gene promoter region CpG methylation by methylation-specific PCR (MSP).
Prostasin is expressed in the normal human urothelium and in a normal human urothelial cell line, but is significantly down-regulated in high-grade TCC and lost in 9 (of 15) TCC cell lines. Loss of prostasin expression in the TCC cell lines correlated with loss of or reduced E-cadherin expression, loss of epithelial morphology, and promoter DNA hypermethylation. Prostasin expression could be reactivated by demethylation or inhibition of histone deacetylase. Re-expression of prostasin or a serine protease-inactive variant resulted in transcriptional up-regulation of E-cadherin.
Loss of prostasin expression in bladder transitional cell carcinomas is associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and may have functional implications in tumor invasion and resistance to chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2770574  PMID: 19849847
9.  Regulation of prostasin by aldosterone in the kidney 
Prostasin is a serine protease present in mammalian urine that increases the activity of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) when the two are coexpressed in Xenopus oocytes. To determine if aldosterone, one of the principal regulators of urinary Na reabsorption by the distal nephron, affects prostasin expression, we examined prostasin mRNA and protein in a cultured mouse cortical collecting duct cell line (M-1), whole rats, and patients with primary aldosteronism. Aldosterone treatment of M-1 cells substantially increased prostasin expression and stimulated 22Na uptake. Urinary excretion of prostasin in rats that were infused with aldosterone likwise increased by ∼4-fold when compared with the vehicle-infused rats. Finally, urinary excretion of prostasin in patients with primary aldosteronism was substantially increased when compared with normal patients. Adrenalectomy reduced urinary prostasin excretion to control levels, whereas urinary prostasin levels were not altered in patients undergoing surgery for other reasons. In patients with primary aldosteronism, reduction in the urinary excretion of prostasin correlated with the increase in the urinary Na/K ratio. These findings, together with our previous report that prostasin activates the amiloride-sensitive Na currents through ENaC, demonstrate that prostasin regulates Na balance in vivo by virtue of its heightened expression in the presence of aldosterone.
PMCID: PMC150850  PMID: 11828000

Results 1-9 (9)