What is it about?
The research describes two new proteolytic enzymes (proteases) which are able to activate the growth factors VEGF-C and VEGF-D. While VEGF-C is necessary during the development of the lymphatic system, both VEGF-C and VEGF-D can also promote the growth and the spead of cancer (metastasis). One of the enzymes is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is widely and controversially used as a marker for prostate cancer. The major physiological function of PSA is to liquefy the male ejaculate in order for sperm cells to be able to swim. Interestingly, VEGF-C and PSA occur in semen, where they may have impact on fertility. The other enzyme that is able to activate VEGF-C and VEGF-D is cathepsin D. It was already previously known that cathepsin D is related to the formation of metastases, but detailed information on the mechanism of action has been lacking.
Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash
Why is it important?
These discoveries may help in both developing novel cancer drugs as well as identifying and treating mechanisms related to infertility.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: KLK3/PSA and cathepsin D activate VEGF-C and VEGF-D, eLife, May 2019, eLife, DOI: 10.7554/elife.44478.
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