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Tumour Biol. 2001 Jan-Feb;22(1):11-8.

Increased expression of protease M in ovarian tumors.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Asada General Hospital, Marugame, Kagawa, Japan.


Proteases are known to play important roles in tumor invasion and metastasis. Protease M, which was originally identified by Anisowicz and colleagues in 1996, is a new member of the serine protease family. We also identified the protease M transcript in a differential PCR screen of ovarian tumors and have investigated its expression in 44 ovarian tumors (12 low malignant potential tumors, 32 carcinomas) and 10 normal ovaries using quantitative PCR. The PCR product was labeled with (32)P and a phosphoimager was used to determine the relative expression of the protease M gene compared to internal control beta-tubulin. mRNA expression levels of protease M were significantly elevated in 9 of 12 low malignant potential tumors and 30 of 32 carcinomas. Northern blot hybridization showed that the 1.7-kb protease M transcript was abundant in carcinoma but not detected in normal ovary. Immunohistochemical staining of normal ovary and ovarian tumor tissue sections with antibodies generated to protease M derived peptides corroborated the semi-quantitative PCR and Northern analysis data. Our results suggest that protease M is frequently overexpressed in ovarian tumors and may therefore contribute to the invasive nature or growth capacity of ovarian carcinomas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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