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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jul 28;275(30):22695-703.

Brain-enriched hyaluronan binding (BEHAB)/brevican cleavage in a glioma cell line is mediated by a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS) family member.

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  • 1Section of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Brain-enriched hyaluronan binding (BEHAB)/brevican is a brain-specific extracellular matrix protein containing a cleavage site between Glu(395)-Ser(396), which bears remarkable homology to the "aggrecanase" site in the cartilage proteoglycan aggrecan. Expression of BEHAB/brevican is dramatically increased in human gliomas, notoriously invasive tumors. Recently, we showed that the rat 9L gliosarcoma cell line, which does not express BEHAB/brevican and forms non-invasive tumors when grown as intracranial grafts, can form invasive tumors when transfected with a 5' cDNA fragment of BEHAB/brevican, but not when transfected with the full-length cDNA. In marked contrast, the highly invasive CNS-1 glioma cell line expresses and cleaves BEHAB/brevican protein when grown as an intracranial graft. These results suggest that both synthesis and cleavage of BEHAB/brevican protein may play a role in the invasiveness of gliomas. We report here, using an antibody developed to the neoepitope created by BEHAB/brevican cleavage at the Glu(395)-Ser(396) site, that the CNS-1 cells are able to cleave the protein in vitro. We characterized the CNS-1-derived cleavage activity by assaying its ability to cleave BEHAB/brevican proteoglycan, and determined that the enzyme is a constitutively expressed, secreted activity. Using a variety of protease inhibitors, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and specific antibodies, we determined that this activity is likely to be a member of the ADAMTS family of metalloproteinases, specifically ADAMTS4. These results suggest a novel function for ADAMTS family members in BEHAB/brevican cleavage and glioma and indicate that inhibition of ADAMTS in glioma may provide a novel therapeutic strategy.

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