A group led by Dr. Thomas Bugge of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD reports that the serum protease matripase is required for global homeostasis of diverse epithelial tissues.
Epithelial cells line the surfaces of cavities and structures throughout the body. These cells have multiple general and organ-specific functions, including maintaining ion gradients, transporting molecules, secreting hormones and growth factors, and excluding pathogens.
The serum protease matripase plays a critical role in the function of epithelial cells in the skin; however, matripase is broadly expressed in different types of epithelial tissues. To explore the role of matripase on other epithelial tissues, List et al generated matripase-deficient mice. The loss of matripase was associated with severe organ dysfunction in multiple tissues; these epithelial tissues lost key epithelial functions.
The data by Dr. Bugge and colleagues "all strongly argue for a primary role of matriptase in tissue homeostasis, rather than a role in the restoration of homeostasis after chance injury to epithelial tissues. … This study has revealed an essential role of matriptase in the maintenance of global epithelial homeostasis in the mouse and has provided an important animal model for the further exploration of matriptase function in multiple physiological and pathological processes."
- List et al. Epithelial Integrity Is Maintained by a Matriptase-Dependent Proteolytic Pathway. American Journal Of Pathology, 2009; 175 (4): 1453 DOI: 10.2353/ajpath.2009.090240
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