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Mol Cell Biochem. 2013 Mar;375(1-2):207-17. doi: 10.1007/s11010-012-1544-z. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Matriptase-2 inhibits HECV motility and tubule formation in vitro and tumour angiogenesis in vivo.

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Metastasis & Angiogenesis Research Group, Institute of Cancer and Genetics, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN, UK.


The type II transmembrane serine proteases (TTSP) are cell surface proteolytic enzymes that mediate a diverse range of cellular functions, including tumour invasion and metastasis. Matriptase-2 is a member of the TTSP family and has been shown to have a key role in cancer progression. The role of matriptase-2 in angiogenesis and angiogenesis-related cancer progression is currently poorly understood. This study aims to elucidate the role of matriptase-2 in tumour angiogenesis. Matriptase-2 was over-expressed in human vascular endothelial cells, HECV, using a mammalian expression plasmid. The altered cells were used in a number of in vitro and in vivo assays designed to investigate the involvement of matriptase-2 in angiogenesis. Over-expression had no significant effect on the growth and adhesion of HECV cells. However, there was a significant reduction in the motility of the cells and their ability to form tubules in an artificial basement membrane (p < 0.01 for both). HECV(mat2 exp) cells inoculated into CD-1 athymic mice along with either PC-3 prostate cancer cells or MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells showed a dramatic decrease in tumour development and growth in the prostate tumours (p < 0.01) and a lesser, non-significant, decrease in the breast tumours (p = 0.08). Over-expression of matriptase-2 also decreased urokinase type plasminogen activator total protein levels in HECV and prostate cells. The study concludes that matriptase-2 has the ability to suppress the angiogenic nature of HECV cells in vitro and in vivo. It also suggests that matriptase-2 could have a potential role in prostate and breast tumour suppression through its anti-angiogenic properties.

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