Induction of a heparin-stimulated serine proteinase in sex accessory gland tumors of the Lobund-Wistar rat

Michael J. Wilson, Jeremy Lind, Akhouri A Sinha

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3 Scopus citations


Induction of new proteinase activities that may process growth factors, modify cell surface receptors, cleave extracellular matrix proteins, etc. is considered fundamental in carcinogenesis. The purpose of this study was to characterize a novel proteinase activity induced in sex accessory gland cancers (about 70% in seminal vesicles) of adult male Lobund-Wistar rats by a single injection of N-nitroso-N-methylurea (NMU; 25mg/kg) followed by implanted testosterone propionate (45mg in silastic tubing every 2months) treatment for 10-14months. A 28kDa proteinase activity was detected in tumor extracts using SDS-gelatin gel zymography with incubations done without CaCl2. Its activity was stimulated 15 fold by heparin (optimal activity 1.5-3.0μg/lane) added to the tissue extract-SDS sample buffer prior to electrophoresis. No 28kDa heparin-stimulated proteinase (H-SP) was found in the dorsal, lateral and anterior (coagulating gland) prostate lobes or seminal vesicles of untreated adult rats, but there was a 26-30kDa Ca2+-independent proteinase activity in the ventral prostate that showed limited heparin stimulation. The 28kDa H-SP was completely inhibited by 1.0mM 4-(2-aminoethyl)benzenesulfonylfluoride (AESBF) indicating that it was a serine-type proteinase. Other types of proteinase inhibitors were without effect, including serine proteinase inhibitors benzamidine, tranexamic acid and ε-aminocaproic acid. Proteinase activities of about 28kDa were found with casein, fibrinogen or carboxymethylated transferrin as substrate, however, these activities were not stimulated by heparin. Similar levels of activities of the 28kDa H-SP were found in primary tumors and their metastases, but little/no activity was detected in serum, even from rats with large tumor volume and metastases. These data demonstrate overexpression of a heparin-stimulated 28kDa serine proteinase in the primary tumors of sex accessory gland cancers and their metastases. This proteinase either does not leak into or is inactivated in the blood. The role of this proteinase remains to be determined, but its possible interaction with extracellular glycosaminoglycans could focus its proteolytic activity in the tumor microenvironment and affect tumor growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-43
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015.


  • Cancer
  • Heparin
  • Prostate
  • Rat
  • Serine proteinase
  • Zymography


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