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Articles by Z Werb
Total Records ( 3 ) for Z Werb
  W Lederle , B Hartenstein , A Meides , H Kunzelmann , Z Werb , P Angel and M. M. Mueller

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) such as MMP13 promote tumour growth and progression by mediating extracellular matrix (ECM) reorganization and regulating the biological activity of cytokines. Using Mmp13–/– mice, we demonstrate an essential role of this single collagenase for highly malignant and invasive growth in skin squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Lack of host MMP13 strongly impaired tumour growth of malignant SCC cells, leading to small, mostly avascular cysts. While initial stromal activation in tumour transplants of Mmp13+/+ and Mmp13–/– animals was similar, MMP13 was essential for maintenance of angiogenesis and for invasion. MMP13 was induced in fibroblasts of the wild-type animals at the onset of invasion and correlated with a strong increase in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein and its association with vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 on endothelial cells in invasive areas. In contrast, VEGF protein in the stroma was barely detectable and tumour invasion was downregulated in Mmp13–/– animals, despite ongoing VEGF messenger RNA expression. Taken together with in vitro data showing the release of VEGF from the ECM by MMP13 expressing fibroblasts, these data strongly suggest a crucial role of MMP13 in promoting angiogenesis via releasing VEGF from the ECM and thus allowing the invasive growth of the SCC cells.

  N Ortega , K Wang , N Ferrara , Z Werb and T. H. Vu
  Nathalie Ortega, Ke Wang, Napoleone Ferrara, Zena Werb, and Thiennu H. Vu

Long bone development depends on endochondral bone formation, a complex process requiring exquisite balance between hypertrophic cartilage (HC) formation and its ossification. Dysregulation of this process may result in skeletal dysplasias and heterotopic ossification. Endochondral ossification requires the precise orchestration of HC vascularization, extracellular matrix remodeling, and the recruitment of osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and osteoclasts have all been shown to regulate endochondral ossification, but how their function interrelates is not known. We have investigated the functional relationship among these regulators of endochondral ossification, demonstrating that they have complementary but non-overlapping functions. MMP-9, VEGF and osteoclast deficiency all cause impaired growth plate ossification resulting in the accumulation of HC. VEGF mRNA and protein expression are increased at the MMP-9–/– growth plate, and VEGF activity contributes to endochondral ossification since sequestration of VEGF by soluble receptors results in further inhibition of growth plate vascularization and ossification. However, VEGF bioavailability is still limited in MMP-9 deficiency, as exogenous VEGF is able to rescue the MMP-9–/– phenotype, demonstrating that MMP-9 may partially, but not fully, regulate VEGF bioavailability. The organization of the HC extracellular matrix at the MMP-9–/– growth plate is altered, supporting a role for MMP-9 in HC remodeling. Inhibition of VEGF impairs osteoclast recruitment, whereas MMP-9 deficiency leads to an accumulation of osteoclasts at the chondro-osseous junction. Growth plate ossification in osteoclast-deficient mice is impaired in the presence of normal MMP-9 expression, indicating that other osteoclastic functions are also necessary. Our data delineate the complementary interplay between MMP-9, VEGF and osteoclast function that is necessary for normal endochondral bone formation and provide a molecular framework for investigating the molecular defects contributing to disorders of endochondral bone formation.

  N. E Sounni , K Dehne , L van Kempen , M Egeblad , N. I Affara , I Cuevas , J Wiesen , S Junankar , L Korets , J Lee , J Shen , C. J Morrison , C. M Overall , S. M Krane , Z Werb , N Boudreau and L. M. Coussens
  Nor E. Sounni, Kerstin Dehne, Leon van Kempen, Mikala Egeblad, Nesrine I. Affara, Ileana Cuevas, Jane Wiesen, Simon Junankar, Lidiya Korets, Jake Lee, Jennifer Shen, Charlotte J. Morrison, Christopher M. Overall, Stephen M. Krane, Zena Werb, Nancy Boudreau, and Lisa M. Coussens

Innate regulatory networks within organs maintain tissue homeostasis and facilitate rapid responses to damage. We identified a novel pathway regulating vessel stability in tissues that involves matrix metalloproteinase 14 (MMP14) and transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1). Whereas plasma proteins rapidly extravasate out of vasculature in wild-type mice following acute damage, short-term treatment of mice in vivo with a broad-spectrum metalloproteinase inhibitor, neutralizing antibodies to TGFβ1, or an activin-like kinase 5 (ALK5) inhibitor significantly enhanced vessel leakage. By contrast, in a mouse model of age-related dermal fibrosis, where MMP14 activity and TGFβ bioavailability are chronically elevated, or in mice that ectopically express TGFβ in the epidermis, cutaneous vessels are resistant to acute leakage. Characteristic responses to tissue damage are reinstated if the fibrotic mice are pretreated with metalloproteinase inhibitors or TGFβ signaling antagonists. Neoplastic tissues, however, are in a constant state of tissue damage and exhibit altered hemodynamics owing to hyperleaky angiogenic vasculature. In two distinct transgenic mouse tumor models, inhibition of ALK5 further enhanced vascular leakage into the interstitium and facilitated increased delivery of high molecular weight compounds into premalignant tissue and tumors. Taken together, these data define a central pathway involving MMP14 and TGFβ that mediates vessel stability and vascular response to tissue injury. Antagonists of this pathway could be therapeutically exploited to improve the delivery of therapeutics or molecular contrast agents into tissues where chronic damage or neoplastic disease limits their efficient delivery.

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