American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
[en] The extracellular pH (pHe) of tumor tissues is often acidic, which can induce the expression of several proteins. We previously showed that production of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) was induced by culturing cells at acidic pHe (5.4-6.5). Here we have investigated the signal transduction pathway by which acidic pHe induces MMP-9 expression. We found that acidic pHe (5.9) activated phospholipase D (PLD), and inhibition of PLD activity by 1-butanol and Myr-ARF6 suppressed the acidic pHe-induced MMP-9 expression. Exogenous PLD, but not phosphatidylinositol-specific PLC or PLA(2), mimicked MMP-9 induction by acidic pHe. Western blot analysis revealed that acidic pHe increased the steady-state levels of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 and p38 and that the PLD inhibitors suppressed these increases. Using 5'-deletion mutant constructs of the MMP-9 promoter, we found that the acidic pHe-responsive region was located at nucleotide -670 to -531, a region containing the NF kappa B binding site. A mutation into the NF kappa B binding site reduced, but not completely, the acidic pHe- induced MMP-9 promoter activity, pand NF kappa B activity was induced by acidic pHe. Pharmacological inhibitors specific for mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1/2 (PD098059) and p38 (SB203580) attenuated the acidic pHe- induced NF kappa B activity and MMP-9 expression. These data suggest that PLD, mitogen-activated protein kinases (extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 and p38), and NF kappa B mediate the acidic pHe signaling to induce MMP-9 expression. A transcription factor(s) other than NF kappa B may also be involved in the MMP-9 expression.