Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP-4) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) inhibit metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) expression in cancer cells.

Nathalie Bibens Laulan1 and Yves St-Pierre 1

1 INRS-Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, INRS-Institut-Armand-Frappier, Boul. des Prairies, Laval, Québec, Canada


Yves St-Pierre, email:

Keywords: Gene expression, matrix metalloproteinase-9, bone morphogenetic protein-4, EGF, gremlin

Received: February 02, 2015 Accepted: March 16, 2015 Published: March 23, 2015


Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) plays a central role in the progression of the cancer. While a large number of studies have contributed to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for upregulating MMP-9 gene expression in normal and cancer cells, our knowledge on the signals that suppress MMP-9 expression is much more limited. Here, we report that EGF and BMP-4 cooperate to inhibit MMP-9 expression in cancer cells. Treatment with EGF reduces the expression of MMP-9 at both mRNA while augmenting BMP-4 expression. Interestingly, recombinant BMP-4 suppressed constitutive and PMA-induced MMP-9 expression in both fibrosarcoma and breast cancer cells. Addition of gremlin a natural inhibitor of BMP-4, inhibited the suppression of MMP-9 by EGF. The suppression of MMP-9 by BMP-4 likely occurs at the transcriptional level since BMP-4 suppressed MMP-9 mRNA expression and activation of a reporter vector encoding the human MMP-9 promoter. The suppressive effect of BMP-4 occurs via Smad1/5/8 and is specific since BMP-4 did not inhibit MMP-2 while BMP-2 was ineffective in suppressing MMP-9. Taken together, these results are consistent with a new paradigm for the role of EGF and BMPs in controlling MMP gene expression in cancer cells.

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