Background: Matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) is a key regulator in the migration of tumor cells. αvβ3 integrin has been reported to play a critical role in cell adhesion and regulate the migration of tumor cells by promoting MMP-2 activation. However, little is known about the effects of MMP-2 on αvβ3 integrin activity and αvβ3 integrin-mediated adhesion and migration of tumor cells.
Methodology/principal findings: Human melanoma cells were seeded using an agarose drop model and/or subjected to in vitro analysis using immunofluorescence, adhesion, migration and invasion assays to investigate the relationship between active MMP-2 and αvβ3 integrin during the adhesion and migration of the tumor cells. We found that MMP-2 was localized at the leading edge of spreading cells before αvβ3 integrin. αvβ3 integrin-mediated adhesion and migration of the tumor cells were inhibited by a MMP-2 inhibitor. MMP-2 cleaved fibronectin into small fragments, which promoted the adhesion and migration of the tumor cells.
Conclusion/significance: MMP-2 cleaves fibronectin into small fragments to enhance the adhesion and migration of human melanoma cells mediated by αvβ3 integrin. These results indicate that MMP-2 may guide the direction of the tumor cell migration.