Mesotrypsin promotes malignant growth of breast cancer cells through shedding of CD109

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Serine proteases have been implicated in many stages of cancer development, facilitating tumor cell growth, invasion, and metastasis, and naturally occurring serine protease inhibitors have shown promise as potential anticancer therapeutics. Optimal design of inhibitors as potential therapeutics requires the identification of the specific serine proteases involved in disease progression and the functional targets responsible for the tumor-promoting properties. Here, we use the HMT-3522 breast cancer progression series grown in 3D organotypic culture conditions to find that serine protease inhibitors cause morphological reversion of the malignant T4-2 cells, assessed by inhibition of proliferation and formation of acinar structures with polarization of basal markers, implicating serine protease activity in their malignant growth behavior. We identify PRSS3/mesotrypsin upregulation in T4-2 cells as compared to their nonmalignant progenitors, and show that knockdown of PRSS3 attenuates, and treatment with recombinant purified mesotrypsin enhances, the malignant growth phenotype. Using proteomic methods, we identify CD109 as the functional proteolytic target of mesotrypsin. Our study identifies a new mediator and effector of breast cancer growth and progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Protease inhibitors
  • Proteases
  • Three-dimensional culture models
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Tumor reversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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