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PLoS One. 2011 Feb 2;6(2):e16452. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016452.

Cathepsin-D, a key protease in breast cancer, is up-regulated in obese mouse and human adipose tissue, and controls adipogenesis.

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  • 1IRCM, Institut de Recherche en Cancérologie de Montpellier, Montpellier, France.


The aspartic protease cathepsin-D (cath-D) is overexpressed by human epithelial breast cancer cells and is closely correlated with poor prognosis in breast cancer. The adipocyte is one of the most prominent cell types in the tumor-microenvironment of breast cancer, and clinical studies have shown that obesity increases the incidence of breast cancer. Here, we provide the first evidence that cath-D expression is up-regulated in adipose tissue from obese human beings, as well as in adipocytes from the obese C57BI6/J mouse. Cath-D expression is also increased during human and mouse adipocyte differentiation. We show that cath-D silencing in 3T3-F442A murine preadipocytes leads to lipid-depleted cells after adipogenesis induction, and inhibits of the expression of PPARγ, HSL and aP2 adipocyte differentiation markers. Altogether, our findings demonstrate the key role of cath-D in the control of adipogenesis, and suggest that cath-D may be a novel target in obesity.

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