Nuclear localization of heparanase 2 (Hpa2) attenuates breast carcinoma growth and metastasis

Maram Hilwi, Katherina Shulman, Inna Naroditsky, Sari Feld, Miriam Gross-Cohen, Ilanit Boyango, Soaad Soboh, Olga Vornicova, Malik Farhoud, Preeti Singh, Gil Bar-Sela, Hadassah Goldberg, Martin Götte, Andrew D. Sharrocks, Yaoyong Li, Ralph D. Sanderson, Neta Ilan, Israel Vlodavsky

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Unlike the intense research effort devoted to exploring the significance of heparanase in cancer, very little attention was given to Hpa2, a close homolog of heparanase. Here, we explored the role of Hpa2 in breast cancer. Unexpectedly, we found that patients endowed with high levels of Hpa2 exhibited a higher incidence of tumor metastasis and survived less than patients with low levels of Hpa2. Immunohistochemical examination revealed that in normal breast tissue, Hpa2 localizes primarily in the cell nucleus. In striking contrast, in breast carcinoma, Hpa2 expression is not only decreased but also loses its nuclear localization and appears diffuse in the cell cytoplasm. Importantly, breast cancer patients in which nuclear localization of Hpa2 is retained exhibited reduced lymph-node metastasis, suggesting that nuclear localization of Hpa2 plays a protective role in breast cancer progression. To examine this possibility, we engineered a gene construct that directs Hpa2 to the cell nucleus (Hpa2-Nuc). Notably, overexpression of Hpa2 in breast carcinoma cells resulted in bigger tumors, whereas targeting Hpa2 to the cell nucleus attenuated tumor growth and tumor metastasis. RNAseq analysis was performed to reveal differentially expressed genes (DEG) in Hpa2-Nuc tumors vs. control. The analysis revealed, among others, decreased expression of genes associated with the hallmark of Kras, beta-catenin, and TNF-alpha (via NFkB) signaling. Our results imply that nuclear localization of Hpa2 prominently regulates gene transcription, resulting in attenuation of breast tumorigenesis. Thus, nuclear Hpa2 may be used as a predictive parameter in personalized medicine for breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number232
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

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