Author(s): Yang Z, Cox JL, Yang Z, Cox JL
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Most cancers express elevated protease levels which contribute to certain aspects of tumor behavior such as growth, metastatic spread, and angiogenesis. Elevation of the cathepsins of the cysteine protease family correlates with increased invasion of tumor cells. Cysteine proteases such as cathepsins B, H and L type participate in tumor cell invasion as extracellular proteases, yet are enzymes whose exact roles in metastasis are still being elucidated. METHODS: We have examined the role of cathepsin L in highly metastatic B16F10 murine melanoma cells through genetic antisense constructs of cathepsin L. The effects of cathepsin L antisense were examined for melanoma cell proliferation, invasion, migration and adhesion. RESULTS: Antisense expression of cathepsin L, while decreasing enzyme activity in cell lysates, did not influence cell proliferation. Cathepsin L contributed to melanoma cell invasion and also augmented melanoma cell migration. Further, we demonstrated the adhesion of cathepsin L down-regulated clones was unaltered to fibronectin, laminin, and collagen. Finally, the inhibition of melanoma cell migration via down-regulation of cathepsin L appears to be independent of cystatin C expression. CONCLUSION: This study shows that cathepsin L facilitates high metastatic B16 melanoma cell invasion and migration. The mechanism of migration inhibition by decreased cathepsin L is independent of cystatin C levels. Since metastasis depends upon both the invasiveness and migration of tumor cells, cathepsin L may be a therapeutic target of strong clinical interest.
This article was published in Cancer Cell Int
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy