MMP8 increases tongue carcinoma cell-cell adhesion and diminishes migration via cleavage of anti-adhesive FXYD5

Oncogenesis. 2021 May 31;10(5):44. doi: 10.1038/s41389-021-00334-x.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) modify bioactive factors via selective processing or degradation resulting in tumour-promoting or tumour-suppressive effects, such as those by MMP8 in various cancers. We mapped the substrates of MMP8 to elucidate its previously shown tumour-protective role in oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC). MMP8 overexpressing (+) HSC-3 cells, previously demonstrated to have reduced migration and invasion, showed enhanced cell-cell adhesion. By analysing the secretomes of MMP8 + and control cells with terminal amine isotopic labelling of substrates (TAILS) coupled with liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), we identified 36 potential substrates of MMP8, including FXYD domain-containing ion transport regulator 5 (FXYD5). An anti-adhesive glycoprotein FXYD5 has been previously shown to predict poor survival in OTSCC. Cleavage of FXYD5 by MMP8 was confirmed using recombinant proteins. Furthermore, we detected a loss of FXYD5 levels on cell membrane of MMP8 + cells, which was rescued by inhibition of the proteolytic activity of MMP8. Silencing (si) FXYD5 increased the cell-cell adhesion of control but not that of MMP8 + cells. siFXYD5 diminished the viability and motility of HSC-3 cells independent of MMP8 and similar effects were seen in another tongue cancer cell line, SCC-25. FXYD5 is a novel substrate of MMP8 and reducing FXYD5 levels either with siRNA or cleavage by MMP8 increases cell adhesion leading to reduced motility. FXYD5 being a known prognostic factor in OTSCC, our findings strengthen its potential as a therapeutic target.