New regulatory axis revealed for the cancer relevant matrix metalloprotease  MMP14

IMAGE: This is a confocal image of a Kaposi´s sarcoma tumor section stained with MMP14 (green) and Prox1 (magenta) specific antibodies. Nuclei were counterstained with Hoechst 33342 (blue). view more 

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Cancer and development are two different processes that surprisingly involve similar processes and regulatory circuits. With this premise, Silvia Gramolelli, a post-doctoral researcher in Professor Päivi Ojala´s group, University of Helsinki, uncovered a new regulatory axis for the membrane-associated metalloprotease, MMP14 (also named MT1-MMP).

When expressed on the surface of the cells, MMP14 eats up the extracellular matrix thus allowing the migration and invasion of the cells into the surrounding tissue. MMP14 participates in tissue remodelling during development and in physiological processes such as wound healing but it also plays a significant role in different cancer tissues, for instance in breast cancer and melanoma patients high MMP14 levels increase the risk to develop metastasis.

“The regulation of MMP14 levels is, thus, very important in both physiology and cancer and exploring how it is regulated is crucial for better understanding of these processes”, Gramolelli states.

Gramolelli investigated whether Prox1, a transcription factor instrumental for lymphatic endothelial cell specification, development of several organs and in colorectal cancer stem cells, is suppressing MMP14.


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