Membrane type-serine protease 1 (MT-SP1) plays potential roles in the process of invasion and metastasis of carcinomas. In the present study, we cloned a rat MT-SP1 cDNA and investigated the intestinal distribution and proteolytic properties of the enzyme. By in situ hybridization we found the prominent expression of the mRNA in the epithelial layer of the small intestinal upper villi and of the colon, where cells are loosely attached to the basement membrane. When MT-SP1 was expressed in Caco-2, a colonic carcinoma cell line, the protein was localized exclusively on the basolateral side. A secreted form of the enzyme produced in COS-1 cells digested fibronectin and laminin. These findings suggest that MT-SP1 participates in the control of intestinal epithelial turnover by regulating the cell-substratum adhesion.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.