Selective cleavage of the Glu395-Ser396 bond of brevican, one of the major proteoglycans in adult brain tissues, is thought to be important for glioma cell invasion. Our previous biochemical study demonstrated that ADAMTS-4, a member of the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) family, has such an activity. In the present study, we examined brevican-degrading activities of ADAMTS-1, -4 and -5 at the cellular level, and their expression and localization in human glioma tissues. In 293T transfectants expressing ADAMTS-4 or ADAMTS-5, brevican was cleaved into two major fragments in an identical pattern, but no such degradation was observed with ADAMTS-1 transfectants. When the expression levels of these ADAMTS species were examined by real-time quantitative PCR, only ADAMTS-5 was found to be overexpressed in glioblastoma tissues compared to control normal brain tissues (P<0.05). In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that ADAMTS-5 is expressed predominantly in glioblastoma cells. Forced expression of ADAMTS-5 in glioma cell lines stimulated cell invasion. These results demonstrate for the first time that ADAMTS-5 is capable of degrading brevican and is overexpressed in glioblastoma cells, and suggest that ADAMTS-5 may play a role in glioma cell invasion through the cleavage of brevican.
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