Tumor Detection by Imaging Proteolytic Activity

Graduate Group in Biophysics, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.
Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 9.33). 02/2010; 70(4):1505-12. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-1640
Source: PubMed


The cell surface protease membrane-type serine protease-1 (MT-SP1), also known as matriptase, is often upregulated in epithelial cancers. We hypothesized that dysregulation of MT-SP1 with regard to its cognate inhibitor hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor-1 (HAI-1), a situation that increases proteolytic activity, might be exploited for imaging purposes to differentiate malignant from normal tissue. In this study, we show that MT-SP1 is active on cancer cells and that its activity may be targeted in vivo for tumor detection. A proteolytic activity assay with several MT-SP1-positive human cancer cell lines showed that MT-SP1 antibodies that inhibit recombinant enzyme activity in vitro also bind and inhibit the full-length enzyme expressed on cells. In contrast, in the same assay, MT-SP1-negative cancer cell lines were inactive. Fluorescence microscopy confirmed the cell surface localization of labeled antibodies bound to MT-SP1-positive cells. To evaluate in vivo targeting capability, 0.7 to 2 nmoles of fluorescently labeled antibodies were administered to mice bearing tumors that were positive or negative for MT-SP1. Antibodies localized to MT-SP1-positive tumors (n = 3), permitting visualization of MT-SP1 activity, whereas MT-SP1-negative tumors (n = 2) were not visualized. Our findings define MT-SP1 activity as a useful biomarker to visualize epithelial cancers using a noninvasive antibody-based method.

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    • "These matriptase inhibitors exhibit great potency against matriptase activity when tested using in vitro assays that, in most cases, have made use of recombinant matriptase serine protease domain [17]–[22]. Antibody-based inhibitors specifically targeted against active matriptase (as opposed to the zymogen form) have also been developed [23] and used to detect tumors in mice via binding to active matriptase on the surface of cancer cells [24], [25]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The type 2 transmembrane serine protease matriptase is broadly expressed in human carcinomas and hematological cancers. The proteolytic activity of matriptase is a potential target of drugs and imaging probes. We assessed the fate of active matriptase following the induction of matriptase zymogen activation. Exposing eight human carcinoma cells to pH 6.0 buffer induced robust matriptase zymogen activation followed by rapid inhibition of the nascent active matriptase by hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor (HAI)-1. Consequently, no enzymatically active matriptase was detected in these cells. Some active matriptase is, however, rapidly shed to the extracellular milieu by these carcinoma cells. The lack of cell-associated active matriptase and the shedding of active matriptase were also observed in two hematological cancer lines. Matriptase shedding is correlated closely with the induction of matriptase activation, suggesting that matriptase activation and shedding are kinetically coupled. The coupling allows a proportion of active matriptase to survive HAI-1 inhibition by rapid shedding from cell surface. Our study suggests that cellular free, active matriptase is scarce and might not be an effective target for in vivo imaging and drug development.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Several assays to detect active matriptase have been established, but they are either indirect [18], [36] or technical demanding, e.g. requiring access to a 2D fluorescent imager [44]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Matriptase is a member of the family of type II transmembrane serine proteases that is essential for development and maintenance of several epithelial tissues. Matriptase is synthesized as a single-chain zymogen precursor that is processed into a two-chain disulfide-linked form dependent on its own catalytic activity leading to the hypothesis that matriptase functions at the pinnacle of several protease induced signal cascades. Matriptase is usually found in either its zymogen form or in a complex with its cognate inhibitor hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor 1 (HAI-1), whereas the active non-inhibited form has been difficult to detect. In this study, we have developed an assay to detect enzymatically active non-inhibitor-complexed matriptase by using a biotinylated peptide substrate-based chloromethyl ketone (CMK) inhibitor. Covalently CMK peptide-bound matriptase is detected by streptavidin pull-down and subsequent analysis by Western blotting. This study presents a novel assay for detection of enzymatically active matriptase in living human and murine cells. The assay can be applied to a variety of cell systems and species.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "In addition, there is significant evidence linking matriptase to carcinogenesis in several cancer types including ovarian, prostate and cervical cancers [3], [14]. Consequently, there is considerable activity in the development of matriptase inhibitors [15], [16], [17], and methods to monitor matriptase activity in tumors [18], [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Overexpression of matriptase has been reported in a variety of human cancers and is sufficient to trigger tumor formation in mice, but the importance of matriptase in breast cancer remains unclear. We analysed matriptase expression in 16 human breast cancer cell lines and in 107 primary breast tumors. The data revealed considerable diversity in the expression level of this protein indicating that the significance of matriptase may vary from case to case. Matriptase protein expression was correlated with HER2 expression and highest expression was seen in HER2-positive cell lines, indicating a potential role in this subgroup. Stable overexpression of matriptase in two breast cancer cell lines had different consequences. In MDA-MB-231 human breast carcinoma cells the only noted consequence of matriptase overexpression was modestly impaired growth in vivo. In contrast, overexpression of matriptase in 4T1 mouse breast carcinoma cells resulted in visible changes in morphology, actin staining and cell to cell contacts. This correlated with downregulation of the cell-cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin. These results suggest that the functions of matriptase in breast cancer are likely to be variable and cell context dependent.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · PLoS ONE
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