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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Matrix metalloproteinase-7- mediated cleavage of Fas ligand protects tumor cells from chemotherapeutic drug cytotoxicity.

Recent evidence suggests that one mechanism whereby cytotoxic drugs, such as doxorubicin, kill tumors is the induction or up-regulation of Fas ligand (FasL) expression on the tumor cell surface. The ensuing engagement of Fas by FasL on adjacent cells leads to apoptosis. However, despite cytotoxic drug-induced FasL expression, Fas-sensitive tumors frequently resist chemotherapy, suggesting that they may possess a mechanism that prevents or inactivates Fas-FasL interactions. In the present work, we addressed the involvement of the FasL/Fas signaling pathway in doxorubicin-induced apoptosis and the ability of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) to proteolytically cleave FasL in tumor cells. Doxorubicin-induced apoptosis was inhibited by expression of soluble Fas or incubation of the tumor cells with MMP-7 but not with MMP-2 or MMP-9. Resistance to doxorubicin was also induced by expression in the tumor cells of constitutively active MMP-7 but not of a catalytically inactive mutant. Conversely, inhibition of MMP-7 expression in tumor cells by transfection of MMP-7 cDNA in antisense orientation resulted in sensitization to doxorubicin. MMP-7 efficiently cleaved recombinant FasL in vitro and reduced cell surface FasL expression. Our observations provide evidence that one mechanism whereby MMP-7 may promote tumor survival and resistance to doxorubicin is by cleaving FasL and reducing its effectiveness in triggering Fas-mediated apoptosis.[1]


  1. Matrix metalloproteinase-7-mediated cleavage of Fas ligand protects tumor cells from chemotherapeutic drug cytotoxicity. Mitsiades, N., Yu, W.H., Poulaki, V., Tsokos, M., Stamenkovic, I. Cancer Res. (2001) [Pubmed]
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