Hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor type 1 inhibits protease activity and proteolytic activation of human airway trypsin-like protease

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Abstract

Hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor type 1 (HAI-1) is a Kunitz-type transmembrane serine protease inhibitor initially identified as a potent inhibitor of hepatocyte growth factor activator (HGFA), a serine protease that converts pro-HGF to the active form. HAI-1 also has inhibitory activity against serine proteases such as matriptase, hepsin and prostasin. In this study, we examined effects of HAI-1 on the protease activity and proteolytic activation of human airway trypsin-like protease (HAT), a transmembrane serine protease that is expressed mainly in bronchial epithelial cells. A soluble form of HAI-1 inhibited the protease activity of HAT in vitro. HAT was proteolytically activated in cultured mammalian cells transfected with its expression vector, and a soluble form of active HAT was released into the conditioned medium. The proteolytic activation of HAT required its own serine protease activity. Co-expression of the transmembrane full-length HAI-1 inhibited the proteolytic activation of HAT. In addition, full-length HAI-1 associated with the transmembrane full-length HAT in co-expressing cells. Like other target proteases of HAI-1, HAT converted pro-HGF to the active form in vitro. These results suggest that HAI-1 functions as a physiological regulator of HAT by inhibiting its protease activity and proteolytic activation in airway epithelium.

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