BACKGROUND: Lysosomal cysteine protease cathepsin V has previously been shown to exhibit elevated expression in breast cancer tissue and be associated with distant metastasis. Research has also identified that cathepsin V expression is elevated in tumour tissues from numerous other malignancies, but despite this, there has been limited examination of the function of this protease in cancer. Here we investigate the role of cathepsin V in breast cancer in order to delineate the molecular mechanisms by which this protease contributes to tumourigenesis.
METHODS: Lentiviral transductions were used to generate shRNA cell line models, with cell line validation undertaken using RQ-PCR and Western blotting. Phenotypic changes of tumour cell biology were examined using clonogenic and invasion assays. The relationship between GATA3 expression and cathepsin V was primarily analysed using Western blotting. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to generate catalytic mutant and shRNA-resistant constructs to confirm the role of cathepsin V in regulating GATA3 expression.
RESULTS: We have identified that elevated cathepsin V expression is associated with reduced survival in ER-positive breast cancers. Cathepsin V regulates the expression of GATA3 in ER-positive breast cancers, through promoting its degradation via the proteasome. We have determined that depletion of cathepsin V results in elevated pAkt-1 and reduced GSK-3β expression, which rescues GATA3 from proteasomal degradation.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we have identified that cysteine protease cathepsin V can suppress GATA3 expression in ER-positive breast cancers by facilitating its turnover via the proteasome. Therefore, targeting cathepsin V may represent a potential therapeutic strategy in ER-positive breast cancers, by restoring GATA3 protein expression, which is associated with a more favourable clinical outcome.
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Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of Philosophy