Secreted protease PRSS35 suppresses hepatocellular carcinoma by disabling CXCL2-mediated neutrophil extracellular traps

Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 18;14(1):1513. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-37227-z.


Hepatocytes function largely through the secretion of proteins that regulate cell proliferation, metabolism, and intercellular communications. During the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the hepatocyte secretome changes dynamically as both a consequence and a causative factor in tumorigenesis, although the full scope of secreted protein function in this process remains unclear. Here, we show that the secreted pseudo serine protease PRSS35 functions as a tumor suppressor in HCC. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that active PRSS35 is processed via cleavage by proprotein convertases. Active PRSS35 then suppresses protein levels of CXCL2 through targeted cleavage of tandem lysine (KK) recognition motif. Consequently, CXCL2 degradation attenuates neutrophil recruitment to tumors and formation of neutrophil extracellular traps, ultimately suppressing HCC progression. These findings expand our understanding of the hepatocyte secretome's role in cancer development while providing a basis for the clinical translation of PRRS35 as a therapeutic target or diagnostic biomarker.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chemokine CXCL2 / metabolism
  • Extracellular Traps* / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism


  • Peptide Hydrolases
  • CXCL2 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL2