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Adv Exp Med Biol. 1997;425:77-88.

Maspin. A tumor suppressing serpin.

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Division of Cancer Genetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Maspin, a serpin found in mammary epithelial cells, has been shown to have tumor suppressor activity. The gene is expressed in normal human mammary epithelial cells but down-regulated in invasive breast carcinomas. Similar patterns of expression at the RNA and protein levels are seen by Northern analysis with cells grown in culture and by immunostaining of tissues. Biological assays of invasion by tumor cells through Matrigel membranes and of motility have shown that recombinant maspin inhibits both processes, and that its inhibitory action is totally lost by a single cleavage at the reaction center. Tumor transfectants expressing maspin are inhibited in growth and metastasis in nude mice. Maspin is located in the cell membrane and extracellular matrix, and does not behave as a classical inhibitory serpin against any known target protease. Its mode of action is presently unknown.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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