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J Cell Biol. 2005 Jun 20;169(6):977-85.

Intracellular collagen degradation mediated by uPARAP/Endo180 is a major pathway of extracellular matrix turnover during malignancy.

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  • 1Proteases and Tissue Remodeling Unit, Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We recently reported that uPARAP/Endo180 can mediate the cellular uptake and lysosomal degradation of collagen by cultured fibroblasts. Here, we show that uPARAP/Endo180 has a key role in the degradation of collagen during mammary carcinoma progression. In the normal murine mammary gland, uPARAP/Endo180 is widely expressed in periductal fibroblast-like mesenchymal cells that line mammary epithelial cells. This pattern of uPARAP/Endo180 expression is preserved during polyomavirus middle T-induced mammary carcinogenesis, with strong uPARAP/Endo180 expression by mesenchymal cells embedded within the collagenous stroma surrounding nests of uPARAP/Endo180-negative tumor cells. Genetic ablation of uPARAP/Endo180 impaired collagen turnover that is critical to tumor expansion, as evidenced by the abrogation of cellular collagen uptake, tumor fibrosis, and blunted tumor growth. These studies identify uPARAP/Endo180 as a key mediator of collagen turnover in a pathophysiological context.

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