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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Jun;41(6):1421-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2008.12.010. Epub 2008 Dec 25.

Regulation of podoplanin/PA2.26 antigen expression in tumour cells. Involvement of calpain-mediated proteolysis.

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Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas Alberto Sols, CSIC-UAM. Arturo Duperier, 4, 28029-Madrid, Spain.


Podoplanin/PA2.26 antigen is a small transmembrane mucin expressed in different types of cancer where it is associated with increased cell migration, invasiveness and metastasis. Little is known about the mechanisms that control podoplanin expression. Here, we show that podoplanin synthesis can be controlled at different levels. We analyzed podoplanin expression in a wide panel of tumour cell lines. The podoplanin gene (PDPN) is transcribed in cells derived from sarcomas, embryonal carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas and endometrial tumours, while cell lines derived from colon, pancreatic, ovarian and ductal breast carcinomas do not express PDPN transcripts. PDPN is expressed as two mRNAs of approximately 2.7 and approximately 0.9 kb, both of which contain the coding sequence and arise by alternative polyadenylation. Strikingly, in most of the cell lines where PDPN transcripts were found, no podoplanin or only very low levels of the protein could be detected in Western blot. Treatment of several of these cell lines with the calpain inhibitor calpeptin resulted in podoplanin accumulation, whereas lactacystin, a specific inhibitor of the proteasome, had no effect. In vitro experiments showed that podoplanin is a substrate of calpain-1. These results indicate that at least in some tumour cells absence or reduced podoplanin protein levels are due to post-translational calpain-mediated proteolysis. We also report in this article the identification of a novel podoplanin isoform that originates by alternative splicing and differs from the standard form in lacking two cytoplasmic residues (YS). YS dipeptide is highly conserved across species, suggesting that it might be functionally relevant.

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