EGF-stimulation of the A549 human lung carcinoma cell line demonstrated that the suppression of cell growth response was mediated by the activation of protein tyrosine phosphatase activity and resulted in reduced EGF receptor phosphorylation. Competition binding experiments using anti-integrin antibodies identified integrin alpha3beta1 as a putative cell surface receptor for TIMP-2 on human microvascular endothelial cells (hMVECs). Ala+TIMP-2 also inhibited VEGF-A or FGF-2 stimulated mitogenesis in vitro and angiogenesis in vivo a, thus demonstrating that the angio-inhibitory activity of TIMP-2 is dissociable from MMP-inhibition. The mechanism of this effect involves an integrin receptor inactivation of growth factor receptor signaling, known as heterologous receptor inactivation. This was the first demonstration that integrins could negatively regulate activation of a receptor tyrosine kinase This work has defined a new paradigm for TIMP biology by demonstrating that TIMPs are multifunctional proteins, with cell surface receptors and through interaction with these receptors they can directly influence cellular behavior. Using both in vitro and in vivo models our current and future work is focused on identifying the alpha3beta1 integrin binding domain(s) in TIMP-2 and furthering our understanding of the cellular effects following TIMP-2 interaction with alpha3beta1 in both normal and neoplastic cells, as well as the subsequent alterations in the tumor microenvironment. It is our goal to further characterize the MMP-independent and MMP-dependent effects of TIMPs in the tumor microenvironment and their relative contribution to tumor suppression and/or progression. These studies should identify crucial mechanisms in the regulation of cell behavior by the extracellular matrix in normal tissues and the tumor microenvironment, and possibly lead to new therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment. These findings suggest that defining the domain(s) responsible for TIMP-2-binding to alpha3beta1 will be critical to further dissecting the multiple biological activities of this complex molecule, as well as defining the functional contributions of this activity to the microenvironment in both normal and malignant tissues.The focus of this project is to determine the mechanisms of the anti-angiogenic and anti-tumorigenic effects of Ala+TIMP-2. Preliminary work with human microvascular endothelial cells has demonstrated a mechanism known as heterologous receptor inactivation. In this effect the TIMP-2 receptor alpha3beta1 decreases phosphorylation and activation of receptor tyrosine kinases such as the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-2, fibroblast growth factor recetpor (FGFR)-1 and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by activation a phosphotyrosine phosphatase known as Shp-1. However, recent experiments in tumor cells and endothelial cells have revealed that the growth suppressor activity of Ala+TIMP-2 is more complex and appears to involve apoptotic pathways and changes in gene expression of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition that is essential to tumor invasion and metastasis. It is the purpose of this project to identify and delineate these pathways with the aim of developing Ala+TIMP-2 as a novel cancer therapeutic and identifying potential new therapeutic targets.Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2 (TIMP-2) inhibits angiogenesis by several mechanisms involving either MMP inhibition or direct endothelial cell binding. The primary aim of this study was to identify the TIMP-2 region involved in binding to the previously identified receptor integrin alpha3beta1, and to determine whether synthetic peptides derived from this region retained angio-inhibitory and tumor suppressor activity. We demonstrated that the N-terminal domain of TIMP-2 (N-TIMP-2) binds to alpha3beta1 and inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor-stimulated endothelial cell growth in vitro, suggesting that both the alpha3beta1-binding domain and growth suppressor activity of TIMP-2 localize to the N-terminal domain. Using a peptide array approach we identify a 24 amino acid region of TIMP-2 primary sequence, consisting of residues Ile43-Ala66, which shows alpha3beta1-binding activity. Subsequently we demonstrate that synthetic peptides from this region compete for TIMP-2 binding to alpha3beta1 and suppress endothelial growth in vitro. We define a minimal peptide sequence (peptide 8-9) that posses both angio-inhibitory and, using a murine xenograft model of Kaposis sarcoma, anti-tumorigenic activity in vivo. Thus, both the alpha3beta1-binding and angio-inhibitory activities co-localize to a solvent exposed, flexible region in the TIMP-2 primary sequence that is unique in amino acid sequence compared with other members of the TIMP family. Furthermore, comparison of the TIMP-2 and TIMP-1 protein 3-D structures in this region also identified unique structural differences. Our findings demonstrate that the integrin binding, tumor growth suppressor and in vivo angio-inhibitory activities of TIMP-2 are intimately associated within a unique sequence/structural loop (B-C loop). Advances in 2012 are the demonstration that TIMP-2 has direct antitumoral properties independent of its MMP inhibitory activity in vivo (See Bourboulia et al., Amer. J. Pathol 179:2589-2600, 2011). This worked demonstrated that forced expression of TIMP-2 and Ala+TIMP-2 (lacking MMP inhibitory activity) in A549 human lung cancer cells results in decreased phosphorylation of Fak and AKT directly in the tumor cells inhibiting these pathways. We also demonstrated using a TIMP-2-deficient mouse model, as well as A549 expressing TIMP-2 xenografts, that TIMP-2 functions to suppress the infiltration of tumor-associated myeloid suppressor cells that are critical for tumor angiogenesis. These findings support the continued preclinical development of TIMP-2 as a novel biological therapy for cancer treatment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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Kumar, Sarvesh; Malhotra, Shashwat; Prasad, Ashok K et al. (2015) Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Piper species: a perspective from screening to molecular mechanisms. Curr Top Med Chem 15:886-93
Dunn, Diana M; Woodford, Mark R; Truman, Andrew W et al. (2015) c-Abl Mediated Tyrosine Phosphorylation of Aha1 Activates Its Co-chaperone Function in Cancer Cells. Cell Rep 12:1006-18
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Bourboulia, Dimitra; Han, HuiYing; Jensen-Taubman, Sandra et al. (2013) TIMP-2 modulates cancer cell transcriptional profile and enhances E-cadherin/beta-catenin complex expression in A549 lung cancer cells. Oncotarget 4:166-76

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