Renata Mezyk-Kopec received her PhD in biochemistry from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, in 2008. She worked on identifying proteases other than ADAM17 responsible for the shedding of TNF from the cell surface. As a postdoctoral fellow at Jagiellonian University, she focused on the role of ADAM17 in tumor progression.
Controlled inhibition of lymphatic vessel growth may be considered as a potential therapeutic strategy for the prevention or treatment of metastatic disease. Therefore, the identification of new lymphangiogenesis-related molecules and elucidation of their biological function is crucial for the development of new therapies. Although VEGF-C and VEGF-D play important roles in lymphangiogenesis, the involvement of matrix metalloproteases, especially MMP-2, is also of significance.
The results of Renata’s experiments suggest that another metalloprotease, namely ADAM17, may also promote lymphangiogenesis. ADAM17 belongs to sheddases, the enzymes responsible for proteolytic release of extracellular domains of transmembrane proteins, which thereby modulate cell-cell and cell-environment communication. ADAM17 plays an important role in many physiological as well as pathophysiological processes. This secretase, ubiquitously expressed in many tissues, seems to play an important role in tumor growth promotion.
The aim of Renata’s research is to explore the possible role of ADAM17 in regulation of lymphangiogenesis-related properties of lymphatic endothelial cells as well as to evaluate the impact of ADAM17 on tumor cell metastasis through lymphatic vessels. The project will verify the hypothesis that ADAM17 not only promotes the growth of tumors but may also promote tumor cell spreading through supporting tumor lymphangiogenesis.