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      Aminopeptidase N (CD13) as a target for cancer chemotherapy


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          The enzyme aminopeptidase N (APN, also known as CD13) is a Zn 2+ dependent membrane‐bound ectopeptidase that degrades preferentially proteins and peptides with a N‐terminal neutral amino acid. Aminopeptidase N has been associated with the growth of different human cancers and suggested as a suitable target for anti‐cancerous therapy. Different approaches have been used to develop new drugs directed to this target, including enzyme inhibitors as well as APN‐targeted carrier constructs. This review discusses the prevalence and possible function of APN in malignant diseases, mainly solid tumors, as well as its “drugability” evaluated in preclinical in vivo models, and also provides a brief overview of current clinical trials focused on APN. ( Cancer Sci 2011; 102: 501–508)

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          Aminopeptidase N is a receptor for tumor-homing peptides and a target for inhibiting angiogenesis.

          Phage that display a surface peptide with the NGR sequence motif home selectively to tumor vasculature in vivo. A drug coupled to an NGR peptide has more potent antitumor effects than the free drug [W. Arap et al., Science (Washington DC), 279: 377-380, 1998]. We show here that the receptor for the NGR peptides in tumor vasculature is aminopeptidase N (APN; also called CD13). NGR phage specifically bound to immunocaptured APN and to cells engineered to express APN on their surface. Antibodies against APN inhibited in vivo tumor homing by the NGR phage. Immunohistochemical staining showed that APN expression is up-regulated in endothelial cells within mouse and human tumors. In another tissue that undergoes angiogenesis, corpus luteum, blood vessels also expressed APN, but APN was not detected in blood vessels of various other normal tissues stained under the same conditions. APN antagonists specifically inhibited angiogenesis in chorioallantoic membranes and in the retina and suppressed tumor growth. Thus, APN is involved in angiogenesis and can serve as a target for delivering drugs into tumors and for inhibiting angiogenesis.
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            The moonlighting enzyme CD13: old and new functions to target

            Aminopeptidase N (CD13) is a widely expressed ectoenzyme with functions that do not always depend on its enzymatic activity: an aspect that has been overlooked. Numerous CD13-targeting tools have been developed in the last few years. Several of them are already undergoing clinical trials, and there are promising reports on the effectiveness of others in animal models of disease. However, their efficacy might be obscured by their effects on unrecognized functions of CD13, resulting in unexpected complications. The purpose of this review is (i) to discuss the various functions ascribed to CD13 and the possible mechanisms behind them and (ii) to consider some of the questions that need to be answered to achieve a better understanding of the biological relevance of these functions, a more precise interpretation of the results obtained after their manipulation and a more rational design of CD13-targeting agents.
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              CD13/APN is activated by angiogenic signals and is essential for capillary tube formation.

              In the hematopoietic compartment, the CD13/APN metalloprotease is one of the earliest markers of cells committed to the myeloid lineage where it is expressed exclusively on the surface of myeloid progenitors and their differentiated progeny. CD13/APN is also found in nonhematopoietic tissues, and its novel expression on the endothelial cells of angiogenic, but not normal, vasculature was recently described. Treatment of animals with CD13/APN inhibitors significantly impaired retinal neovascularization, chorioallantoic membrane angiogenesis, and xenograft tumor growth, indicating that CD13/APN plays an important functional role in vasculogenesis and identifying it as a critical regulator of angiogenesis. To investigate the mechanisms of CD13/APN induction in tumor vasculature, the regulation of CD13/APN by factors contributing to angiogenic progression was studied. In this report, it is shown that endogenous CD13/APN levels in primary cells and cell lines are up-regulated in response to hypoxia, angiogenic growth factors, and signals regulating capillary tube formation during angiogenesis. Transcription of reporter plasmids containing CD13/APN proximal promoter sequences is significantly increased in response to the same angiogenic signals that regulate the expression of the endogenous gene and in human tumor xenografts, indicating that this fragment contains elements essential for the angiogenic induction of CD13/APN expression. Finally, functional antagonists of CD13/APN interfere with tube formation but not proliferation of primary vascular endothelial cells, suggesting that CD13/APN functions in the control of endothelial cell morphogenesis. These studies clearly establish the CD13/APN metalloprotease as an important regulator of endothelial morphogenesis during angiogenesis.

                Author and article information

                Cancer Sci
                Cancer Sci
                Cancer Science
                Blackwell Publishing Ltd (Oxford, UK )
                30 January 2011
                March 2011
                : 102
                : 3 ( doiID: 10.1111/cas.2011.102.issue-3 )
                : 501-508
                [ 1 ]Department of Medical Sciences, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Uppsala University Hospital
                [ 2 ]Department of Oncology, Radiology and Clinical Immunology, Division of Oncology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
                Author notes
                [*] [* ] 3To whom correspondence should be addressed.
E‐mail: joachim.gullbo@ 123456medsci.uu.se
                © 2011 Japanese Cancer Association

                This article is being made freely available through PubMed Central as part of the COVID-19 public health emergency response. It can be used for unrestricted research re-use and analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source, for the duration of the public health emergency.

                : 5 November 2010
                : 3 December 2010
                : 9 December 2010
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 2, Pages: 8
                Review Article
                Custom metadata
                March 2011
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:5.8.0 mode:remove_FC converted:15.04.2020

                Oncology & Radiotherapy
                Oncology & Radiotherapy


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