We are interested in two aspects of a given type of metastatic breast cancer: which potentially cancer-relevant genes are expressed and which factors determine invasiveness. Using reverse transcription real-time PCR, we detected gene expression of 26 matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, including those of MMP-12, MMP-16 variant 2, MMP-19, MMP-20, MMP-21, MMP-23, MMP-24, MMP-25, MMP-25 variant 2, MMP-L1, MMP-26, MMP-27, and MMP-28, in contrast to the 13 MMPs detected until now in these cells. We found that MMP genes are expressed at widely different levels in these cells, over five orders of magnitude. After individual siRNA-induced depletions, we found that six additional species of cancer cell MMPs promote invasiveness in MDA-MB-231 cells: MMP-3, MMP-11, MMP-12, MMP-17, MMP-19, and MMP-23, thus raising the total to 12 endogenous MMPs which do so in these cells. The data support the conclusion that some cancer cell MMPs, although expressed at low levels, are needed for cancer trait in MDA-MB-231 cells, and that several endogenous MMPs play non-redundant roles in this process. The mRNA level of MMP-11, but not of other MMPs, rose substantially following individual siRNA-targeted depletion of cancer cell MMP-17 mRNA, while no MMP mRNA increased appreciably after degradation of other MMP mRNAs. This supports the conclusion that MMP-17 may be a member of an intracellular signaling pathway which downregulates MMP-11 mRNA.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.