Visualization of MMP-2 activity using dual-probe nanoparticles to detect potential metastatic cancer cells

Aeju Lee, Sung Hoon Kim, Hyun Lee, Bohee Kim, Yoon Suk Kim, Jaehong Key

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of zinc-dependent enzymes capable of degrading extracellular matrix components. Previous studies have shown that the upregulation of MMP-2 is closely related to metastatic cancers. While Western blotting, zymography, and Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA) can be used to measure the amount of MMP-2 activity, it is not possible to visualize the dynamic MMP-2 activities of cancer cells using these techniques. In this study, MMP-2-activated poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) with polyethylenimine (MMP-2-PLGA-PEI) nanoparticles were developed to visualize time-dependent MMP-2 activities. The MMP-2-PLGA-PEI nanoparticles contain MMP-2-activated probes that were detectable via fluorescence microscopy only in the presence of MMP-2 activity, while the Rhodamine-based probes in the nanoparticles were used to continuously visualize the location of the nanoparticles. This approach allowed us to visualize MMP-2 activities in cancer cells and their microenvironment. Our results showed that the MMP-2-PLGA-PEI nanoparticles were able to distinguish between MMP-2-positive (HaCat) and MMP-2-negative (MCF-7) cells. While the MMP-2-PLGA-PEI nanoparticles gave fluorescent signals recovered by active recombinant MMP-2, there was no signal recovery in the presence of an MMP-2 inhibitor. In conclusion, MMP-2-PLGA-PEI nanoparticles are an effective tool to visualize dynamic MMP-2 activities of potential metastatic cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 21

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This work was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (No. 2015R1C1A1A01052592), the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program (No. 2016M3A9B4919711), and by the Yonsei University Wonju Campus Future-Leading Research Initiative of 2017 (2017-52-0076).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

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