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J Biol Chem. 2002 Mar 22;277(12):9749-56. Epub 2001 Nov 27.

Processing of integrin alpha(v) subunit by membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase stimulates migration of breast carcinoma cells on vitronectin and enhances tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase.

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  • 1Burnham Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Recently, we have shown that membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) exhibits integrin convertase activity. Similar to furin-like proprotein convertases, MT1-MMP directly processes a single chain precursor of alpha(v) integrin subunit (pro-alpha(v)) into the heavy and light alpha-chains connected by a disulfide bridge. To evaluate functionality of MT1-MMP-processed integrins, we examined breast carcinoma MCF7 cells co-expressing alpha(v)beta(3) integrin with either the wild type or mutant MT1-MMP in a variety of migration and adhesion tests. Specific inhibitors of proprotein convertases and MMP were employed in our cell system to attenuate the individual pathways of pro-alpha(v) maturation. We present evidence that MT1-MMP cleavage of pro-alpha(v) in the cells did not affect RGD-ligand binding of the resulting alpha(v)beta(3) integrin but enhanced outside-in signal transduction through a focal adhesion kinase pathway. Enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase in cells co-expressing MT1-MMP and alpha(v)beta(3) integrin contributed to efficient adhesion and, especially, migration of cells on vitronectin, a ligand of alpha(v)beta(3) integrin. These mechanisms underscore the significance of a coordinated interplay between MT1-MMP and alpha(v)beta(3) integrin in tumor cells and identify downstream signaling pathways resulting from their interactions. Regulation of integrin maturation and functionality may be an important role of MT1-MMP in tumor cells.

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