Calcium-induced matrix metalloproteinase 9 gene expression is differentially regulated by ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK in oral keratinocytes and oral squamous cell carcinoma.J Biol Chem. 2004 Aug 06; 279(32):33139-46.JB
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play an important role in the invasive behavior of a number of cancers including oral squamous cell cancer (OSCC), and increased expression of MMP-9 is correlated with invasive and metastatic OSCC. Because calcium is an important regulator of keratinocyte function, the effect of modulating extracellular calcium on MMP-9 expression in OSCC cell lines was evaluated. Increasing extracellular calcium induced a dose-dependent increase in MMP-9 expression in immortalized normal and premalignant oral keratinocytes, but not in two highly invasive OSCC cell lines. Differential activation of MAPK signaling was also induced by calcium. p38 MAPK activity was down-regulated, whereas ERK1/2 activity was enhanced. Pharmacologic inhibition of p38 MAPK activity or expression of a catalytically inactive mutant of the upstream kinase MAPK kinase 3 (MKK3) increased the calcium induced MMP-9 gene expression, demonstrating that p38 MAPK activity negatively regulated this process. Interestingly blocking p38 MAPK activity enhanced ERK1/2 phosphorylation, suggesting reciprocal regulation between the ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK pathways. Together these data support a model wherein calcium-induced MMP-9 expression is differentially regulated by the ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK pathways in oral keratinocytes, and the data suggest that a loss of this regulatory mechanism accompanies malignant transformation of the oral epithelium.