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Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Dec;27(24):8454-65. Epub 2007 Oct 1.

Identification of candidate angiogenic inhibitors processed by matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2) in cell-based proteomic screens: disruption of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/heparin affin regulatory peptide (pleiotrophin) and VEGF/Connective tissue growth factor angiogenic inhibitory complexes by MMP-2 proteolysis.

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University of British Columbia, Centre for Blood Research, 4.401 Life Sciences Institute, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z3.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) exert both pro- and antiangiogenic functions by the release of cytokines or proteolytically generated angiogenic inhibitors from extracellular matrix and basement membrane remodeling. In the Mmp2-/- mouse neovascularization is greatly reduced, but the mechanistic aspects of this remain unclear. Using isotope-coded affinity tag labeling of proteins analyzed by multidimensional liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry we explored proteome differences between Mmp2-/- cells and those rescued by MMP-2 transfection. Proteome signatures that are hallmarks of proteolysis revealed cleavage of many known MMP-2 substrates in the cellular context. Proteomic evidence of MMP-2 processing of novel substrates was found. Insulin-like growth factor binding protein 6, follistatin-like 1, and cystatin C protein cleavage by MMP-2 was biochemically confirmed, and the cleavage sites in heparin affin regulatory peptide (HARP; pleiotrophin) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) were sequenced by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry. MMP-2 processing of HARP and CTGF released vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) from angiogenic inhibitory complexes. The cleaved HARP N-terminal domain increased HARP-induced cell proliferation, whereas the HARP C-terminal domain was antagonistic and decreased cell proliferation and migration. Hence the unmasking of cytokines, such as VEGF, by metalloproteinase processing of their binding proteins is a new mechanism in the control of cytokine activation and angiogenesis.

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