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Pro-cathepsin D interacts with the extracellular domain of the β chain of LRP1 and promotes LRP1-dependent fibroblast outgrowth
Mélanie Beaujouin, Christine Prébois, Danielle Derocq, Valérie Laurent-Matha, Olivier Masson, Sophie Pattingre, Peter Coopman, Nadir Bettache, Jami Grossfield, Robert E. Hollingsworth, Hongyu Zhang, Zemin Yao, Bradley T. Hyman, Peter van der Geer, Gary K. Smith, Emmanuelle Liaudet-Coopman


Interactions between cancer cells and fibroblasts are crucial in cancer progression. We have previously shown that the aspartic protease cathepsin D (cath-D), a marker of poor prognosis in breast cancer that is overexpressed and highly secreted by breast cancer cells, triggers mouse embryonic fibroblast outgrowth via a paracrine loop. Here, we show the requirement of secreted cath-D for human mammary fibroblast outgrowth using a three-dimensional co-culture assay with breast cancer cells that do or do not secrete pro-cath-D. Interestingly, proteolytically-inactive pro-cath-D remains mitogenic, indicating a mechanism involving protein-protein interaction. We identify the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor-related protein-1, LRP1, as a novel binding partner for pro-cath-D in fibroblasts. Pro-cath-D binds to residues 349–394 of the β chain of LRP1, and is the first ligand of the extracellular domain of LRP1β to be identified. We show that pro-cath-D interacts with LRP1β in cellulo. Interaction occurs at the cell surface, and overexpressed LRP1β directs pro-cath-D to the lipid rafts. Our results reveal that the ability of secreted pro-cath-D to promote human mammary fibroblast outgrowth depends on LRP1 expression, suggesting that pro-cath-D–LRP1β interaction plays a functional role in the outgrowth of fibroblasts. Overall, our findings strongly suggest that pro-cath-D secreted by epithelial cancer cells promotes fibroblast outgrowth in a paracrine LRP1-dependent manner in the breast tumor microenvironment.

  • Accepted May 24, 2010.
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