Transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) has been implicated as a key contributor of immunosuppression in seminal plasma. The biochemical mechanisms that lead to production of active seminal TGFβ1 are not fully understood. It is plausible that TGFβ1 activation is partly induced simultaneously with the release of motile spermatozoa following liquefaction of the semen coagulum. Several members of the kallikrein-related peptidase (KLK) family are involved in the regulation of semen liquefaction. This study examines the involvement of these KLKs in TGFβ1 activation in vitro and ex vivo, in seminal plasma. Latent TGFβ1 was rapidly activated by KLK14. The latency-associated propeptide (LAP) was shown to be cleaved by KLK14 into small peptide fragments, providing a possible mechanism for TGFβ1 activation. KLK14 also cleaved the latent TGFβ binding protein 1 (LTBP1). KLK1, 2, and 5 might also contribute to TGFβ1 activation by nicking the LAP motif and inducing conformational changes that aid in subsequent processing of LAP or through LTBP1 cleavage. Our study provides strong evidence for the involvement of multiple members of the seminal KLK cascade in activation of latent TGFβ1 in seminal plasma. These findings might have clinical implications in infertility treatment of cases with concurrent delayed liquefaction and TGFβ1-related semen antigenicity.
Human tissue kallikreins (KLKs) are the largest family of secreted serine protease endopeptidases encoded by 15 genes clustered on chromosome 19q13.4. Multiple KLK enzymes are co-localized in the upper stratum granulosum and stratum corneum of human epidermis, and in associated appendages such as hair follicle epithelia and sweat glands. Until recently, kallikrein proteolytic activity in the skin was exclusively attributed to KLK5 and KLK7. However, wider cutaneous roles of kallikreins became evident in recent years as the proposal of KLK proteolytic activation cascades emerged. We postulate that these proteolytic enzymes may serve as promiscuous mediators of different skin barrier functions, since they are capable of proteolysing different substrates that govern skin desquamation, antimicrobial defense, and lipid permeability. Growing evidence now attests to potential kallikrein involvement in skin inflammation, pigmentation, and tumor suppression via their ability to target proteinase-activated receptor signaling pathways. Current knowledge on kallikrein roles in skin physiology and pathobiology is described in this review.
The androgen receptor (AR) plays an important role in early prostate cancer by activating transcription of a number of genes participating in cell proliferation and growth and cancer progression. However, as the cancer progresses, prostate cancer cells transform from an androgen-dependent to an androgen-independent state. Androgen-independent prostate cancer can manifest itself in several forms, including a percentage of cancers that show reduced levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and can progress without the need for the ligand or active receptor. Therefore, our goal was to examine the role of intracellular signaling pathways in an androgen-independent prostate cancer in vitro model. Using the cell line PC3(AR)2, we stimulated cells with 5-α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) and then analyzed PSA expression. We observed lower PSA expression when cells were jointly stimulated with DHT and EGF, and this was associated with an increase in AKT activity. We examined the role of AKT in AR activity and PSA expression by creating stable PC3(AR)2 cell lines transfected with a PI3K-Ras-effector loop mutant. These cell lines showed lower DHT-stimulated PSA expression that correlated to changes in the phosphorylated state of AR. Therefore, we propose an in vitro androgen-independent model in which a PI3K/AKT activity threshold and subsequent AR transactivation regulate PSA expression.
Human tissue kallikreins (hKs) are attracting increased attention owing to their association with various forms of cancer and other diseases. Human tissue kallikrein genes represent the largest contiguous group of proteases within the human genome. There are many areas of kallikrein research that need to be further explored, including their tissue expression patterns, their regulation, identification of specific substrates, their participation in proteolytic cascades, and their clinical applicability as cancer biomarkers and therapeutic targets. In this review, we briefly describe the current status of kallikrein research and identify future avenues that will enhance our understanding of their function and involvement in human diseases.