Biochimica et biophysica acta

Proteolytic action of kallikrein-related peptidase 7 produces unique active matrix metalloproteinase-9 lacking the C-terminal hemopexin domains.

PMID 21616098


The gelatinases, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and -2, are produced as latent, inactive enzymes that can be proteolytically activated by a number of proteases. In many normal and pathological conditions, where the expression of MMPs is deregulated, changes in the expression of other proteases have also been reported. Human kallikrein-related peptidase 7 (KLK7), a chymotryptic-like serine protease, is overexpressed in many different types of neoplastic conditions, which have also been shown to express high levels of both MMP-9 and -2. Since the activation of MMPs by KLK7 has never been examined, we sought to determine whether KLK7 can activate these MMPs. To test this hypothesis KLK7 was incubated with the recombinant MMPs and the products of the reaction were analyzed for their activity. Incubation of proMMP-9 with KLK7 resulted in the production of a novel truncated, active MMP-9 lacking the C-terminal hemopexin domains. In contrast, KLK7 degraded, but did not activate, proMMP-2. The novel activation of proMMP-9 by KLK7 was further confirmed using conditioned medium prepared from an MMP-9-expressing cell line, MDA-MMP-9. Our results clearly establish that KLK7 activates proMMP-9 to produce a novel truncated, active MMP-9 product not generated by other proteases. These findings suggest that KLK7 may play an important role in the activation of MMP-9 in tumors that express high levels of both these proteases and the resulting truncated MMP may possess altered substrate specificities compared with full-length MMP-9 activated by other proteases.