Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 295(2): C423-C431


Copyright © 2008, American Physiological Society


Matriptase, a type 2 transmembrane serine protease, is predominately expressed by epithelial and carcinoma cells in which hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor 1 (HAI-1), a membrane-bound, Kunitz-type serine protease inhibitor, is also expressed. HAI-1 plays dual roles in the regulation of matriptase, as a conventional protease inhibitor and as a factor required for zymogen activation of matriptase. As a consequence, activation of matriptase is immediately followed by HAI-1-mediated inhibition, with the activated matriptase being sequestered into HAI-1 complexes. Matriptase is also expressed by peripheral blood leukocytes, such as monocytes and macrophages; however, in contrast to epithelial cells, monocytes and macrophages were reported not to express HAI-1, suggesting that these leukocytes possess alternate, HAI- 1-independent mechanisms regulating the zymogen activation and protease inhibition of matriptase. In the present study, we characterized matriptase complexes of 110 kDa in human milk, which contained no HAI-1 and resisted dissociation in boiling SDS in the absence of reducing agents. These complexes were further purified and dissociated into 80-kDa and 45-kDa fragments by treatment with reducing agents. Proteomic and immunological methods identified the 45-kDa fragment as the noncatalytic domains of matriptase and the 80-kDa fragment as the matriptase serine protease domain covalently linked to one of three different secreted serpin inhibitors: antithrombin III, α1- antitrypsin, and α2-antiplasmin. Identification of matriptaseserpin inhibitor complexes provides evidence for the first time that the proteolytic activity of matriptase, from those cells that express no or low levels of HAI-1, may be controlled by secreted serpins.