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Biochemistry Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 454368, 8 pages
Review Article

Complex Regulation of the Pericellular Proteolytic Microenvironment during Tumor Progression and Wound Repair: Functional Interactions between the Serine Protease and Matrix Metalloproteinase Cascades

Center for Cell Biology and Cancer Research, Albany Medical College, 47 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208, USA

Received 31 August 2011; Accepted 21 November 2011

Academic Editor: Maria L. Urso

Copyright © 2012 Cynthia E. Wilkins-Port et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Spatial and temporal regulation of the pericellular proteolytic environment by local growth factors, such as EGF and TGF-β, initiates a wide repertoire of cellular responses coupled to a plasmin/matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) dependent stromal-remodeling axis. Cell motility and invasion, tumor metastasis, wound healing, and organ fibrosis, for example, represent diverse events controlled by expression of a subset of genes that encode various classes of tissue remodeling proteins. These include members of the serine protease and MMP families that functionally constitute a complex system of interacting protease cascades and titrated by their respective inhibitors. Several structural components of the extracellular matrix are upregulated by TGF-β as are matrix-active proteases (e.g., urokinase (uPA), plasmin, MMP-1, -3, -9, -10, -11, -13, -14). Stringent controls on serine protease/MMP expression and their topographic activity are essential for maintaining tissue homeostasis. Targeting individual elements in this highly interactive network may lead to novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer, fibrotic diseases, and chronic wounds.