Activation of fibroblast collagenase-1 expression by tumor cells of squamous cell carcinomas is mediated by p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase-2

J Westermarck, S Li, P Jaakkola, T Kallunki, R Grénman, V M Kähäri
Cancer Research 2000 December 15, 60 (24): 7156-62
Collagenase-1 [matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1] is expressed by stromal fibroblasts of various invasive malignant tumors. Here, we have examined the molecular mechanisms of tumor-induced expression of MMP-1 by stromal fibroblasts. Treatment of fibroblasts with conditioned media of tumor cells derived from squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of the oral cavity and larynx resulted in activation of fibroblast MMP-1 expression at the transcriptional level. The induction of MMP-1 expression correlates with activation of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphorylation of c-Jun and activating transcription factor-2 (ATF-2) and is dependent on the activity of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. Furthermore, using fibroblasts derived from JNK2-/- mice, we show that JNK2 is required for induction of fibroblast collagenase-3 expression in response to conditioned SCC tumor cell medium. Together, these results provide evidence that stress-activated p38 and JNK pathways play a crucial role in paracrine regulation of collagenolytic capacity of stromal fibroblasts in SCCs and suggest JNK2 as a novel target for inhibition of MMP-1 expression and tumor invasion.

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