, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 77-86

MT1-MMP: Universal or particular player in angiogenesis?

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Abstract

Tumorigenesis involves not only tumor cells that become transformed but also the peritumoral stroma which reacts inducing inflammatory and angiogenic responses. Angiogenesis, the formation of new capillaries from preexisting vessels, is an absolute requirement for tumor growth and metastasis, and it can be induced and modulated by a wide variety of soluble factors. During angiogenesis, quiescent endothelial cells are activated and they initiate migration by degrading the basement membranes through the action of specific proteases, in particular of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Among these, the membrane type 1-matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) has been identified as a key player during the angiogenic response. In this review, we will summarize the role of MT1-MMP in angiogenesis and the regulatory mechanisms of this protease in endothelial cells. Since our recent findings have suggested that MT1-MMP is not universally required for angiogenesis, we hypothesize that the regulation and participation of MT1-MMP in angiogenesis may depend on the nature of the angiogenic stimulus. Experiments aimed at testing this hypothesis have shown that similarly to the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1)/CXCL12, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) seems to induce the formation of capillary tubes by human or mouse endothelial cells (ECs) in an MT1-MMP-independent manner. The implications of these findings in the potential use of MT1-MMP inhibitors in cancer therapy are discussed.