Rationale: Macrophage elastase (matrix metalloproteinase [MMP]-12) is a potent protease that contributes to the lung destruction that accompanies cigarette smoking; it simultaneously inhibits lung tumor angiogenesis and metastasis by catalyzing the formation of antiangiogenic peptides. Recent studies have revealed novel nonproteolytic functions of MMP12, including antimicrobial activity through a peptide within its C-terminal domain (CTD).
Objectives: To determine whether the MMP12 CTD contributes to its antitumor activity in lung cancer.
Methods: We used recombinant MMP12 peptide fragments, including its catalytic domain, CTD, and a 20 amino acid peptide within the CTD (SR20), in an in vitro system to delineate their effects on non-small cell lung cancer cell proliferation and apoptosis. We translated our findings to two murine models of lung cancer, including orthotopic human xenograft and KrasLSL/G12D mouse models of lung cancer.
Measurements and Main Results: We show that SR20 triggers tumor apoptosis by up-regulation of gene expression of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and its receptor, death receptor 4, sensitizing cells to an autocrine loop of TRAIL-mediated cell death. We then demonstrate the therapeutic efficacy of SR20 against two murine models of lung cancer.
Conclusions: The MMP12 CTD initiates TRAIL-mediated tumor cell death through its conserved SR20 peptide.