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1.  Antimetastatic activity isolated from Colocasia esculenta (Taro) 
Anti-cancer drugs  2012;23(2):200-211.
Breast cancer mortality is primarily due to the occurrence of metastatic disease. We have identified a novel potential therapeutic agent derived from an edible root of the plant Colocasia esculenta, commonly known as taro, that has demonstrable activity in a preclinical model of metastatic breast cancer and that should have minimal toxicity. We have shown for the first time that a water-soluble extract of taro (TE) potently inhibits lung colonizing ability as well as spontaneous metastasis from mammary gland-implanted tumors, in a murine model of highly metastatic ER, PR and Her-2/neu negative breast cancer. TE modestly inhibits proliferation of some, but not all, breast and prostate cancer cell lines. Morphologic changes including cell rounding were observed. Tumor cell migration was completely blocked by TE. TE treatment also inhibited prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) synthesis and downregulated cyclooxygenase (COX) 1 and 2 mRNA expression. We purified the active compound(s) to near homogeneity with antimetastatic activity comparable to stock TE. The active compound with a native size of approximately 25 kD contains two fragments of nearly equal size. The N-terminal amino acid sequencing of both fragments reveals that the active compound is highly related to three taro proteins; 12 kD storage protein, tarin and lectin. All are similar in terms of amino acid sequence, post-translational processing and all contain a carbohydrate-binding domain. This is the first report describing a compound(s) derived from taro, that potently and specifically inhibits tumor metastasis.
doi:10.1097/CAD.0b013e32834b85e8
PMCID: PMC3769987  PMID: 21934603
Taro; Breast cancer; Antimetastatic activity; Tumor; Cancer therapy
2.  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.
doi:10.1021/jm200920s
PMCID: PMC3214968  PMID: 21966950
3.  A novel signaling axis of matriptase/PDGF-D/β-PDGFR in human prostate cancer 
Cancer research  2010;70(23):9631-9640.
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.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-0511
PMCID: PMC3058856  PMID: 21098708
Genitourinary cancers; prostate; Protease-inhibitor systems; Growth factors and receptors
4.  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.
Summary
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.
doi:10.1016/j.bbamcr.2007.10.019
PMCID: PMC3214967  PMID: 18054338
ErbB Receptor Tyrosine Kinases; GPI-anchor; Transmembrane Glycoprotein; Extracellular Signal-regulated Kinases; MT-SP1; PRSS8
5.  Local Protease Signaling Contributes to Neural Tube Closure in the Mouse Embryo 
Developmental cell  2010;18(1):25.
Summary
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.
doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2009.11.014
PMCID: PMC2822780  PMID: 20152175
6.  S1P/S1P1 signaling stimulates cell migration and invasion in Wilms tumor 
Cancer letters  2009;276(2):171-179.
Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is an important regulator of cellular functions via interaction with its receptors S1P1–5. To date, nothing is known about the S1P receptor expression and the effects of S1P signaling in Wilms tumor. In this study, we found ubiquitous expression of S1P receptors in Wilms tumor specimens and cell lines. We demonstrated that S1P1 acted as a promigratory modulator by employing S1P1 antagonist VPC44116, S1P1 siRNA and adenoviral transduction in Wilms tumor cells. Further, we clarified that S1P1-mediated migration occurred via Gi coupling and activation of PI3K and Rac1. In addition, S1P stimulated WiT49 cell invasion through S1P1/Gi signaling pathway. We consider that targeting S1P1 may be a point of therapeutic intervention in Wilms tumor.
doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2008.11.025
PMCID: PMC2943759  PMID: 19131156
migration; invasion; sphingosine 1-phosphate; WiT49; Wilms tumor
7.  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.
Summary
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.
doi:10.1016/j.bbamcr.2007.04.013
PMCID: PMC1950849  PMID: 17532063
Serine Protease; Matriptase; Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor; Prostate Cancer
8.  Matriptase Autoactivation Is Tightly Regulated by the Cellular Chemical Environments 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93899.
The ability of cells to rapidly detect and react to alterations in their chemical environment, such as pH, ionic strength and redox potential, is essential for cell function and survival. We present here evidence that cells can respond to such environmental alterations by rapid induction of matriptase autoactivation. Specifically, we show that matriptase autoactivation can occur spontaneously at physiological pH, and is significantly enhanced by acidic pH, both in a cell-free system and in living cells. The acid-accelerated autoactivation can be attenuated by chloride, a property that may be part of a safety mechanism to prevent unregulated matriptase autoactivation. Additionally, the thio-redox balance of the environment also modulates matriptase autoactivation. Using the cell-free system, we show that matriptase autoactivation is suppressed by cytosolic reductive factors, with this cytosolic suppression being reverted by the addition of oxidizing agents. In living cells, we observed rapid induction of matriptase autoactivation upon exposure to toxic metal ions known to induce oxidative stress, including CoCl2 and CdCl2. The metal-induced matriptase autoactivation is suppressed by N-acetylcysteine, supporting the putative role of altered cellular redox state in metal induced matriptase autoactivation. Furthermore, matriptase knockdown rendered cells more susceptible to CdCl2-induced cell death compared to control cells. This observation implies that the metal-induced matriptase autoactivation confers cells with the ability to survive exposure to toxic metals and/or oxidative stress. Our results suggest that matriptase can act as a cellular sensor of the chemical environment of the cell that allows the cell to respond to and protect itself from changes in the chemical milieu.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093899
PMCID: PMC3976350  PMID: 24705933
9.  Human Cancer Cells Retain Modest Levels of Enzymatically Active Matriptase Only in Extracellular Milieu following Induction of Zymogen Activation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92244.
The type 2 transmembrane serine protease matriptase is broadly expressed in human carcinomas and hematological cancers. The proteolytic activity of matriptase is a potential target of drugs and imaging probes. We assessed the fate of active matriptase following the induction of matriptase zymogen activation. Exposing eight human carcinoma cells to pH 6.0 buffer induced robust matriptase zymogen activation followed by rapid inhibition of the nascent active matriptase by hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor (HAI)-1. Consequently, no enzymatically active matriptase was detected in these cells. Some active matriptase is, however, rapidly shed to the extracellular milieu by these carcinoma cells. The lack of cell-associated active matriptase and the shedding of active matriptase were also observed in two hematological cancer lines. Matriptase shedding is correlated closely with the induction of matriptase activation, suggesting that matriptase activation and shedding are kinetically coupled. The coupling allows a proportion of active matriptase to survive HAI-1 inhibition by rapid shedding from cell surface. Our study suggests that cellular free, active matriptase is scarce and might not be an effective target for in vivo imaging and drug development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092244
PMCID: PMC3963879  PMID: 24663123
10.  Antithrombin Regulates Matriptase Activity Involved in Plasmin Generation, Syndecan Shedding, and HGF Activation in Keratinocytes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62826.
Matriptase, a membrane-associated serine protease, plays an essential role in epidermal barrier function through activation of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored serine protease prostasin. The matriptase-prostasin proteolytic cascade is tightly regulated by hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor (HAI)-1 such that matriptase autoactivation and prostasin activation occur simultaneously and are followed immediately by the inhibition of both enzymes by HAI-1. However, the mechanisms whereby matriptase acts on extracellular substrates remain elusive. Here we report that some active matriptase can escape HAI-1 inhibition by being rapidly shed from the cell surface. In the pericellular environment, shed active matriptase is able to activate hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), accelerate plasminogen activation, and shed syndecan 1. The amount of active matriptase shed is inversely correlated with the amount of antithrombin (AT) bound to the surface of the keratinocytes. Binding of AT to the surface of keratinocytes is dependent on a functional heparin binding site, Lys-125, and that the N-glycosylation site Asn-135 be unglycosylated. This suggests that β-AT, and not α-AT, is responsible for regulation of pericellular matriptase activity in keratinocytes. Keratinocytes appear to rely on AT to regulate the level of pericellular active matriptase much more than breast and prostate epithelial cells in which AT regulation of matriptase activity occurs at much lower levels than keratinocytes. These results suggest that keratinocytes employ two distinct serine protease inhibitors to control the activation and processing of two different sets of matriptase substrates leading to different biological events: 1) HAI-1 for prostasin activation/inhibition, and 2) AT for the pericellular proteolysis involved in HGF activation, accelerating plasminogen activation, and shedding of syndecans.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062826
PMCID: PMC3652837  PMID: 23675430

Results 1-10 (10)