The heparanase regulatory network in health and disease
journal contributionposted on 05.11.2021, 05:24 by Alyce MayfoshAlyce Mayfosh, Tien NguyenTien Nguyen, Mark HulettMark Hulett
The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a structural framework that has many important physiological functions which include maintaining tissue structure and integrity, serving as a barrier to invading pathogens, and acting as a reservoir for bioactive molecules. This cellular scaffold is made up of various types of macromolecules including heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). HSPGs comprise a protein core linked to the complex glycosaminoglycan heparan sulfate (HS), the remod-eling of which is important for many physiological processes such as wound healing as well as pathological processes including cancer metastasis. Turnover of HS is tightly regulated by a single enzyme capable of cleaving HS side chains: heparanase. Heparanase upregulation has been identified in many inflammatory diseases including atherosclerosis, fibrosis, and cancer, where it has been shown to play multiple roles in processes such as epithelial‐mesenchymal transition, angiogenesis, and cancer metastasis. Heparanase expression and activity are tightly regulated. Understanding the regulation of heparanase and its downstream targets is attractive for the development of treatments for these diseases. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the regulators of heparanase as well as the enzyme’s downstream gene and protein targets, and implications for the development of new therapeutic strategies.