Skip to main content

Protein ‘scissors’ cut path for cancer

Feb. 22, 2011, 3:59 PM

(iStock photo)
(iStock photo)

Metastatic prostate cancer – cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland – can be treated, but not cured. To understand how prostate cancer cells degrade tissue barriers to break free of the prostate, Vito Quaranta and colleagues are exploring the actions of a protein called matriptase.

Matriptase, a sort of molecular scissors that cuts other proteins, has high levels of expression in prostate tumor samples and may be involved in cancer progression, but its role is not clear. The researchers examined whether it “cuts” laminin-332, an essential component of the prostate tissue barrier.

The studies, spearheaded by Manisha Tripathi and Daniel Kirchhofer showed that matriptase cleaves laminin-332, and that this action affects prostate cancer cell migration. Prostate cancer cells expressing high levels of matriptase migrated faster and in a more directionally persistent manner than cells expressing low levels of the protein. The findings, reported in the Feb. 1 issue of the journal The Prostate, provide new insight into possible mechanisms for matriptase and laminin-332 in cancer progression.

Recent Stories from VUMC News and Communications Publications

Betsy Williams has firsthand advice for parents on the fence about whether their adolescent children should be vaccinated for the common human papilloma virus (HPV), which can lead to six types of cancer.  Don’t hesitate. Do it.

Momentum

Betsy Williams has firsthand advice for parents on the fence about whether their adolescent children should be vaccinated for the common human papilloma virus (HPV), which can lead to six types of cancer. Don’t hesitate. Do it.

Keeping pace: Nashville, once a mid-size city with a Southern small-town feel, is experiencing explosive growth.

Vanderbilt Medicine

Keeping pace: Nashville, once a mid-size city with a Southern small-town feel, is experiencing explosive growth.

VUMC campus

VUMC campus

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine entrance

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine entrance

more